New Sleep Order (2011-2013)
Sleep and sleeping have been brought up in a new way in societal, economic and wellbeing policy discussion in the 21st century. As a result, a new way of talking about sleep has arisen, new sleep practices and technologies, as well as a totally new market that provides new sleep products and services, such as Sleeptrackers or power naps.
However, the phenomenon of the new sleep order has received less attention in earlier studies of society. This is a significant deficiency, as sleep and sleeping have a central role on, for instance, wellbeing, social relations, identity, mental and physical renewal, and forming relations with nature.
In this research project we study the changing phenomena related to sleep and sleeping from the socio-cultural perspective. Our point of departure is the idea that society sleeps within us. The central issue of our reflection is how society puts us to sleep. We study this issue in the contexts of tourism, consumer culture and organisations.
A study that approaches the economy, culture and society through sleep and sleeping is a nationally and internationally unique subject of study. It enriches current research into society that often looks at the world using a single eye from the perspective of being awake. In addition, the socio-cultural approach developed for the project provides a new perspective for the dominating natural scientific emphasised research of sleep and sleeping.
Our multidisciplinary project combines business research, tourism studies, cultural history and artistic expertise. In the research profile of the University of Lapland, the project belongs to the profile sectors of changing work and service design.
The general objective for our project is to promote good sleep by diversifying speech and practices associated with sleeping. We raise ways of sleeping, habits and appreciation that have remained in the dark in our culture alongside contemporary discourse dominated by the economy and medicine. We focus attention on, for instance, sleeping as an intrinsic value and a variety of ways to arrange sleeping during weekdays and at work. Using artistic means we attempt to illustrate how many forms of good sleep can be incorporated in a person’s life and the many ways how this can be implemented. In this way it is possible to develop social and cultural solutions to promote good sleep and to reveal the hidden theoretical and practical possibilities for good sleep.
Our research objective is to introduce sleep for the sociological research agenda and to develop a theoretical-methodical approach for studying sleep culture. Our approach utilises practice-theoretical, ethnographic and service design traditions. Our aim is also to produce empirical grassroots-level data on the significant world of sleep that currently does not exist. In addition to the ethnographic material, we will also be gathering media material, sleep diaries, sleeping biographies, narratives, photographs, interviews and online material. We will also be conducting a questionnaire.
Findings / Provisional Findings
Our study provides benefits for the field and practice of tourism research. It provides alternative perspectives for the development of Arctic tourist resorts destinations and the sustainable use of natural environments. For instance, using sleep the development of tourist destinations in Lapland can be given new opportunities instead of concentrating (exclusively) on counting the number of overnight stays. Our project concentrates on possibilities for sleep tourism possibilities and on alternative means of sleep in the Arctic tourist destination.
By way of exploring enjoyment and the socialising features of sleeping, as well as the consumption worlds opened up by dreams, our project propagates central research discussions related to consumer culture. We also focus critical attention on the way the new marketing and consumption practices of the sleep market – such as product and service innovation, material solutions, ways of advertising – renew and change our sleeping habits.
Our project introduces sleep and sleeping to the field of organisational research. We study, for instance, the role of daytime naps in creative fields, the role of various lounge facilities in the organisation, as well as the new techniques of the body brought about by the new sleep discourse.
The project is a strategic leading project of the University of Lapland.
Finnish Forest Research Institute
Napapiirin partiolaiset (Arctic Circle Scouts)