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Både finsk och svensk: modernisering, nationalism och språkförändring i Tornedalen 1850-1939
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Historical Studies.
2001 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study deals with the impact by modernisation and nationalism on the ethnicity and national identity among the Finnish speaking minority in the Torne Valley in the north of Sweden. The starting point is 1809 when Sweden lost the Finnish part of the kingdom to Russia. It resulted in the division of the Torne Valley into two na­tion-states and modernisation projects. The aim of the study is to investigate what happened to the ethnic content in the national identity in the two parts of the valley over time. The focus is placed on the parish of Övertorneå on the Swedish side between 1850 and 1939.

According to the modernist and constructivist approach in theories of nationa­lism, national consciousness and national sentiments are confined to the era of industrialisation and modernisation. In the dissertation nationalism on the contrary is regarded as a myth-symbol complex which is transferred by one or many ethnic groups from the pre-modern state to the modern nation-state. A perspective from both above and below is used in the study. The investigation in the state assimilation policy shows, by contrast with previous studies, that the main aim up to the middle of the 1880s was to maintain religious hegemony in relation to the Laestadian revi­valist movement. It also shows that the assimilation policy was influenced by the continuity of the Finnish speaking minority in the nation-state and the previous link of Sweden together with Finland in the former unitary state. Moreover it shows that it was influenced by internal changes in the paradigm of education and party policy, the new international status of national minorities after First World War and language revitalisation in the Torne Valley.

The process of language shift is used as an important marker of ethnicity and national identity. When following the shift of language use among the Torne Valley people from 1890 to 1930 the study shows that the language policy in school played an essential role for the shift, but the difference between women and men also reve­als the impact from the society outside school. It also reveals a dynamic change from both Finnish to Swedish and reverse before 1890. In contrast to previous studies the writing abilities in Finnish was at a considerable level and sustain in time compared to the writing abilities in Swedish. The stable pattern of inter-marriage between the Swedish Torne Valley and Finland 1860-1919 reveals a cultural continuity which stands in contrast to the dramatical political events of the time.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Kulturgräns norr , 2001. , 488 p.
Kulturens frontlinjer : skrifter från forskningsprogrammet Kulturgräns norr, ISSN 1402-8506 ; 34
Keyword [en]
Modernisation, nationalism, ethnicity, assimilation policy, national identity, marriage pattern, language shift, Torne Valley, elementary school
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-59640ISBN: 91-88466-43-4OAI: diva2:555538
Available from: 2012-09-20 Created: 2012-09-20 Last updated: 2012-09-20Bibliographically approved

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