A Farewell to Involuntary Mobility: Narratives on Homeownership in Mid-Twentieth-Century Finland

A1 Journal article (refereed)

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Eija Stark
Publisher: Sam Houston State University
Place: Huntsville Texas
Publication year: 2019
Journal: Journal of Finnish Studies
Journal acronym: JoFS
Volume number: 22
Issue number: 1-2
Start page: 119
End page: 136


Until the Interwar period, the majority of the Finnish population lived in small peasant communities in remote parts of the country. Since the growing season was short, much of the country was unsuitable for arable farming, and, in the beginning of the twentieth century, traditional agriculture was not able to employ the increasing population. People moved to towns and industrial centers to seek better economic opportunities and lifestyles and to find employment. In this article, I will analyze the life stories of the common Finnish people, born between 1874 and 1939, who felt compelled to move from their rural family communities. Many of the narrators had integration difficulties in their new environments; for example, living as a tenant in a block of flats was depicted as difficult and, therefore, many of them returned to the rural countryside in order to set up a smallholding of their own. For many, ownership of a small farm and the rural lifestyle it provided represented the cultural norm, and the images of a farmhouse received the typical characteristics of a "key-symbol." The article discusses mobility within a nation-state as a cultural involuntary experience.


Last updated on 2020-26-05 at 06:11