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Theme 6: Interpreting Finland: generations of the social change


Family life: from the traditional (patriarchal) family structure to modern ... Housing as a life-task (savings), modern consumption patterns ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Theme 6: Interpreting Finland: generations of the social change

Theme 6 Interpreting Finland generations of the
social change
  • Ways of life studies interpreting the process of

From country to town, from small farm to factory
(Ahponen Järvelä 1983)
  • The basic idea to see the changing way of life
    as a challenge to workers in the context of the
    workers community
  • The way of life was defined as the process of
    everyday life as based on its essential social
    conditions (experiences) as connected to the
    individual perspectives (expectations)
  • The changing situation social mobility in a
    modernising country
  • Urban migration people moved in big numbers from
    rural areas (in North Karelia) into a provincial
    capital (Joensuu)
  • From agriculture to industry workers in two
    factory interviewed
  • The interviewed workers represented metal
    industry and mechanical woodworking industry

The strategy of analysis in the study of urban
  • Strategy of analysis was basically descriptive
    and inductive, however structurally framed
  • the becoming of a wage-worker as the basic theme
  • The empirical research strategy was triangular
  • participant observations
  • a structured questionnaire (survey) addressed to
    about 150 respondents
  • Thematic interviews with about 30 married couples
    or individuals as representatives of different
    age categories (generations)

Thematic interpretation
  • Biographies five generation-groups, the aspect
    of gender (males and females) taken into
  • Determinants age work-career, family career
  • Family life from the traditional (patriarchal)
    family structure to modern family-model - more
    individual life-problems
  • The housing career house-owning and
    house-building as a life-task increasing
  • More opportunities for making choices however
    the continuation of relative stable every-day
  • Increasing consumption more possibilities for
    the material well-being and choices
  • From the pursuit of self-sufficiency to
    consumerism (basic needs -gt satisfaction)
  • Aims to improve the standard of living
  • Adoption of the consuming habits
  • Expensive living costs (housing)
  • The increasing need for competition on material

Becoming a wage-worker as a life-process
  • Stable employment, sustaining work-contract
  • Work gives safe frames for the life unemployment
    is seen as a serious risk
  • Fixed time-tables in the work
  • Clear separation between the work-time and the
    free (domestic) time
  • Near relationship with nature the use of nature
    during weekends and holidays
  • High culture is not much enjoyed cultural
    events are is not an important part of life
  • Hobbies are preferred in the domestic sphere
  • Education as an opportunity for the better life
    expectations for the next generation (children)
  • Political activism is practiced only by few
    workers (trade unionists)

The use of autobiographies for the social
interpretationstudy results from an
autobiographical competition
  • Structural development of the Finnish society
    seen as based on narratives collected in an
    autobiographical competition (see Roos 1987
    Life stories of social changes four generations
    in Finland, in Roos Sicinski Ways of Life in
    Finland and Poland 1987, 151-161)
  • The competition was organised by the Finnish
    Broadcasting Corporation in 1979
  • First prize 1 500 Fmk some additional prizes
  • 137 autobiographies were received 70 of them
    were long enough and coherent for the purposes
    of the analysis
  • Most participants represented the southern part
    of Finland (both from urban and rural areas)
  • Quite many were recent urban migrants from the
    Eastern countryside
  • the period of urbanisation and the industrial
    modernisation as experienced

Roos Four generations in the Finnish society -
criteria for the analysis
  • A good autobiography according to Roos
  • Straightforward (avoin, suora, vilpitön)
  • Well-written, logically constructed
  • Reflection of autobiographical consciousness
  • Understands ones life as a wholeness
  • A bad autobiography according to Roos
  • A loose, incoherent collection of stories
  • construed by external considerations (as-if
    learnt from outside)
  • Periodic experiences individual life-histories
    are seen typological as connected to the dramatic
    events in the social history of Finland
  • Generation typology are based on analyses of
    autobiographies as self-written but historically
    interpreted narratives
  • In the life-historical interpretation of what is
    relevant for the socio-cultural change of the
    society, the key-experiences of certain
    generations are taken into focus
  • The individual key-experiences are considered
    only as related to the most significant
    socio-historical changes

The dramatic periods experienced as
constitutive for the Finnish nation during the
20th centuryA national autobiography
  • The period of earning the independence in 1917
    through the civil war (winter and spring 1918)
  • The great depression in the beginning of 1930s
  • The period of the WW II and the reconstruction of
    the society with fundamental socio-political
    changes (the large generation)
  • Building of the Welfare state industrialisation,
    modernization, urbanisation
  • the Great Migration
  • The deep recession (depression) in the beginning
    of 1990s
  • The turn from the welfare state toward the
    competitive society in the contexts of the
    fortress Europe and globalisation

The Finnish generations as typified by Roos
Grounded on autobiographies
  • The generation of wars and depression born
    between 1900-1920
  • Key experiences
  • the Civil war, the Great Depression, the Second
    World War (soldiers, upkeep of the home-frontier)
  • Poverty, misery in the childhood, meaningful
    losses in the family,
  • Inability in attending school, hard work
  • Endeavour for the better life
  • The generation of reconstruction and growth
    born in 1920-1935
  • Key experiences are cut by the WW II
  • Want and even misery in the childhood
  • Reconstruction builders of the modern Finland in
    their young adulthood
  • Hard work as the method for the good life
  • Self-earned (and self-built) own houses and
    apartments with modern equipments

Finnish generations(continued)
  • The generation of the great transformation born
    during the 1940s
  • Key experiences
  • Rapid change of the society in the childhood
    improving economic and social security
  • Migration from the countryside to the urban areas
    with or without their parents
  • Lengthening of the education, better career
  • Housing as a life-task (savings), modern
    consumption patterns
  • The importance of the emotional and intimate
  • Increasing interpretation of family problems
    need for therapeutic consultation
  • Roos the generation of non-experiences (not
    experiences of big outer catastrophes)

The Finnish generations(continued)
  • The suburban generation born in 1950s - 1960s
  • See also Kortteinen Lähiö (The Suburb 1982 or
    Ways of Life in a Finnish suburb, in Roos
    Sicinski 1987, 111-125)
  • Key experiences
  • Prospects of life different than earlier more
    individual choices
  • Motivation an important factor for schooling
  • Feelings of new insecurity
  • Worry about different risks (in the spheres of
    environment, social welfare or intimate relations
    (breaking partnership)
  • The trial for the success conscious construction
    of the life-strategy
  • Façade-building, happiness-barrier,
    life-political programming

The Finnish generations todayThe generational
fractions of young adults in the 2000s A
generation of the new work
  • From factories to studio, from industrialism to
    the media society
  • Project work in studios by means of computing and
  • Media workers, interactive (proactive) workers
  • Flexible working times
  • Contents creation, the creative class
  • New professional capacities
  • Hardening competition, effectiveness demands

The generation of consumption culture and
service-societyA precarious generation
  • Increasing opportunities and possibilities of
  • Exaggerated consumption demands
  • Manipulated consumption, Consumption of virtual
  • Precariousness as the signifier of
  • Individual responsibilities against risk
  • Floating fl?neurs without fixed and stable
  • The global generation
  • A multicultural generation aiming to global
  • New generation movements
  • Globalisation critics
  • Environmentalists
  • New civil activists/creative citizens