Ängsbacka, a community for alternative lifestyles

Ljungberg, E. (2019) ‘Media practices in the making of an “other space”: Communicating inclusion, exclusion, and belonging in a controversial heterotopia’. New Media & Society (published online 25 November 2019).



New age practitioners and other alternative groups seek to create a heterotopia at a distance from mainstream society, and this necessitates some control over the use of media practices. To theorize the role of digital media in the making of a heterotopia, I have studied Ängsbacka, a community for alternative lifestyles, in a small mid-Swedish town. Using the concept of heterotopia as a starting point to understand how Ängsbacka functions as a space outside of mainstream society, I then use media theories about disconnection and the avoidance of context collapse in the analysis of their media practices. The analysis shows that the community has an ambivalent set of both explicit and implicit rules and norms aiming at both inclusion and exclusion of digital media. Studying the role of media use in the construction of a heterotopia adds new layers to the ongoing discussion about the use and non-use of digital media.