Previously described research shows that Swedes follow so-called “unwritten social rules” which have great importance and have been passed from one generation to next. These social pressures are in focus in many people’s daily lives. For most people maintaining and upholding an “image” has become a social norm. This norm extends not only to appearance, but also to the gender roles one is imprinted with at a very young age. Throughout their lives, majorities of people are trapped within the confines of these roles.
During my observation, I saw interesting gender dynamics, which I decided to include in to this study. I tried to capture how these dynamics are transformed into “appearances” which my subjects feel they must uphold in diverse public places.
Typical for Swedish people is also to keep a reasonable distance from others. An invisible “private zone” of about one meter radius has to be respected. Most of swedes “want to be left alone” from strangers and respect of the privacy is expected. “Minding your space” also applies to gesticulating. Swedes keep their body language and hand gestures to a minimum, rather than relying on nonverbal forms of communication.
The climate is also an important factor of Swedish lifestyle. Weather affects people’s moods. Many Swedes become tired and depressed during the dark winter months, while the summer has the opposite effect. The blissful sense of liberation people experience at summer time is, however, tempered by awareness that summer is too short. When it is sunny and warm, people have a lot of different projects at once, as repairing the cottage, camping, planting and grilling, if they cannot do it, the disappointment is great.