The art of networking : the case of Sogndal fotball and Fosshaugane campus
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- Working papers (SNF) 
One of the most significant recent elements of restructuring in rural areas is the transition from an economy based on agricultural production to an economy based on the countryside as a form of commodity. In this transition process, different narratives or images of an area are produced in order to promote villages and other places in the countryside as commodities. Much of the literature takes it for granted that outsiders control the processes of branding rural areas, but our case illustrates that the producers (as well as potential consumers) of the countryside as commodity can be “insiders” of a community. The paper demonstrates how a local football club can take a leading role in processes of rural restructuring in the post-modern area. Football clubs are presented as commodities to attract investors, sponsors, and expertise from private businesses. In both rural restructuring and football, the challenge is to construct narratives or images that correspond with the pre-existing expectations of consumers, whoever they might be. Our discussion demonstrates how the Norwegian football club Sogndal Football used the art of networking to turn a stadium upgrade into a rural restructuring project. Through the development project Fosshaugane Campus, the football club contributes to a commodification of the village of Sogndal by reproducing the rural not as wilderness or a place of adventure for tourists, but as a place for sport, development, and innovation for creative (young) people. Thus, Sogndal Fotball is an example of how increased professionalism of an organization can change football from a game involving 22 players to a game of rural restructuring involving the main actors in a community.