Place making and privilege in an alternative “cocoon community”


  • Emilia Ljungberg Karlstad University




digital place making, social media, privilege, cocoon community, sustainability


Rural places and small towns are highly valued by lifestyle migrants who wish to live close to nature (Verdich 2010) and have a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. Ängsbacka is a course center and a community for alternative lifestyles, located on the outskirts of a small town in mid-Sweden. The center emphasizes community and belonging, while also being a place characterized by cosmopolitan taste patterns and constant mobility, which can be described as a cocoon community (following Korpela and Dervin 2013).

The members of the cocoon community use social media platforms such as Instagram to make place for themselves, to communicate belonging. Through images, hashtags and captions, they make connections between various places, people, activities and emotions that together contribute to the user’s spatial self (Schwartz and Halegoua 2015) and to the place making efforts of the community. Those using the hashtag ängsbacka often do so to communicate a deep connection between the place and themselves. At the same time, while the local place and nature is at the center of their activities, it is simultaneously a mere backdrop for their projects of personal development.

Using Ängsbacka as a case, the article adds to research about digital place making beyond cities, by examining how the local place is given meaning within a community defined by privileged mobility. To analyze the intermingling of the local and the global in the context of sustainability, I combine theories of place making with Carfagna et al’s (2014) concept of ecological habitus. I argue that discourses on sustainability and harmony with nature can create a connection and sense of belonging that combines the (hyper)local with global (alternative) lifestyles.




How to Cite

Ljungberg, E. (2024) “#Nowhereland: Place making and privilege in an alternative ‘cocoon community’”, Culture Unbound, 16(1), pp. 40–59. doi: 10.3384/cu.4288.



Place Making Beyond Cities