Internationally, the case of early modern Sweden is noteworthy because the state building process transformed a locally dispersed and sparsely populated area into a strongly centralized absolute monarchy and European empire at the beginning of the 17th century. This anthology provides fresh insights into the state-building process in Sweden. During this transitional period, many far-reaching administrative reforms were carried out, and the Swedish state developed into a prime example of the early modern ‘powerstate’. The contributors approach Sweden’s rise to greatness from the point of view of personal agency. In early modern studies, agency has long remained in the shadow of the study of structures and institutions. This novel approach enables us to expose the difficulties, setbacks and false steps that the administration had to deal with. State building was a more diversified and personalized process than has previously been assumed. Numerous individuals were also crucially important actors in the process, and that development itself was not straightforward progression at the macro-level but was intertwined with lower-level actors.
Each chapter in this volume employs partially different methods depending on the source material and subject. This means that both qualitative and quantitative material is combined, different ways of making sense of it (i.e. research traditions) are brought together and a multi-method design is used in analyzing source material. One of the central methods is the systematic use of previous biographical research. We want to give the individuals and their actions under discussion a background that reflects the contemporary structures of individual life cycles. With the existing biographical research, it is possible to create a comprehensive set of data that provides the general outlines of individual lives or the career tracks of various estates or social groups, and even to construct collective biographies of certain groups.Book Details
During the First World War, conflicts between the people’s sacrifices and their political participation led to crises of parliamentary legitimacy. This volume compares British, German, Swedish and Finnish debates on revolution, rule by the people, democracy and parliamentarism and their transnational links. The British reform, although more about winning the war than advancing democracy, restored parliamentary legitimacy, unlike in Germany, where Allied demands for democratisation made reform appear treasonous and fostered native German solutions. Sweden only adopted Western political models after major confrontations, but reforms saw it embark on its path to Social Democracy. In Finland, competing Russian revolutionary discourses and German- and Swedish-inspired appeals to legality brought about the deterioration of parliamentary legitimacy and a civil war. Only a republican compromise imposed by the Entente, following a royalist initiative in 1918, led to the construction of a viable polity.Book Details
In most European countries, the horrific legacy of 1939–45 has made it quite difficult to remember the war with much glory. Despite the Anglo-American memory narrative of saving democracy from totalitarianism and the Soviet epic of the Great Patriotic War, the fundamental experience of war for so many Europeans was that of immense personal losses and often meaningless hardships. The anthology at hand focuses on these histories between the victors: on the cases of Hungary, Estonia, Poland, Austria, Finland, and Germany and on the respective, often gendered experiences of defeat. The book’s chapters underline the asynchronous transition to peace in individual experiences, when compared to the smooth timelines of national and international historiographies. Furthermore, it is important to note that instead of a linear chronology, both personal and collective histories tend to return back to the moments of violence and loss, thus forming continuous cycles of remembrance and forgetting. Several of the authors also pay specific attention to the constructed and contested nature of national histories in these cycles. The role of these ‘in-between’ countries – and even more their peoples’ multifaceted experiences – will add to the widening European history of the aftermath, thereby challenging the conventional dichotomies and periodisations. In the aftermath of the seventieth anniversary of 1945, it is still too early to regard the post-war period as mere history; the memory politics and rhetoric of the Second World War and its aftermath are again being used and abused to serve contemporary power politics in EuropeBook Details
This book studies the ”grey area” of the success story of rural lending libraries in the Nordic countries through the activities of people’s libraries in one area of Central Finland. The study explores the influence of social, cultural, geographical and economic phenomena, such as the spread of revivalist movements, on the reading habits of the local population and reveals interesting reasons why the establishment of elementary schools and popular libraries and the growth of functional literacy did not automatically increase the informational capital of the common people of remote regions or lead to their social advancement.
This study represents a methodological experiment in describing the life history of a people’s library. The combination of collective biographical and transnational comparative methods with rarely utilized original sources in this study is innovative and has not been used before in Finnish historical research on functional literacy and popular libraries. The advantage of the comparison is that it reveals the attitudes to libraries that were characteristic of each of the cultures involved.
For the people of the Finnish countryside in the late nineteenth century, libraries represented a way of acquiring new information that was still strange and unwelcome. The distribution of immaterial capital was extremely uneven with regard to age, gender and social rank. In the earlier Finnish research has not very often been analysed, how the communal status of the peasant reader and his or her personal networks in the local community affected the quality of his or her reading habits. This book shows, that the location of the library in its local community and on the other hand the status and position of its customers in their networks, had a great significance on the use of the library and thus to the improvement of reading skills.Book Details
This volume addresses the prominent, and in many ways highly similar, role that historical fiction has played in the formation of the two neighbouring 'young nations', Finland and Estonia. It gives a multi-sided overview of the function of the historical novel during different periods of Finnish and Estonian history from the 1800s until the present day, and it provides detailed close-readings of selected authors and literary trends in their social, political and cultural contexts. This book addresses nineteenth-century 'fictional foundations', historical fiction of the new nation states in the interwar period as well as post-Second World War Soviet Estonian novels and modern historiographic metafiction.Book Details
Noble conceptions of politics in eighteenth-century Sweden (ca 1740–1790) is a study of how the Swedish nobility articulated its political ideals, self-images and loyalties during the Age of Liberty and under the rule of Gustav III. This book takes a close look at the aristocracy’s understanding of a free constitution and at the nobility’s complex relationship with the monarchy. Central themes are the old notion of mixed government, classical republican conceptions of liberty and patriotism, as well as noble thoughts on the rights and duties of the citizen, including the right to rebellion against an unrighteous ruler.
The study is a conceptual analysis of public and private political statements made by members of the nobility, such as Diet speeches and personal correspondence. The book contributes to the large body of research on estate-based identities and the transformation of political language in the second half of the eighteenth century by connecting Swedish political ideals and concepts to their European context.Book Details
Between 1935 and 1970 the Irish Folklore Commission (Coimisiún Béaloideasa Éireann), under-funded and at great personal cost to its staff, assembled one of the world’s largest folklore collections. This study draws on the extensive government files on the Commission in the National Archives of Ireland and on a wide variety of other primary and secondary sources, in order to recount and assess the work and achievement of this world-famous institute. The cultural, linguistic, political and ideological factors that had a bearing on the establishment and making permanent of the Commission and that impinged on many aspects of its work are here elucidated. The genesis of the Commission is traced and the vision and mission of its Honorary Director, Séamus Ó Duilearga (James Hamilton Delargy), is outlined. The negotiations that preceded the setting up of the Commission in 1935 as well as protracted efforts from 1940 to 1970 to place it on a permanent foundation are recounted and examined at length. All the various collecting programmes and other activities of the Commission are described in detail and many aspects of its work are assessed and, in some cases, reassessed. This study also deals with the working methods and conditions of employment of the Commission’s field and Head Office staff as well with Séamus Ó Duilearga’s direction of the Commission.Book Details
In the early 19th century, the only way to transmit information was to send letters across the oceans by sailing ships or across land by horse and coach. Growing world trade created a need and technological development introduced options to improve general information transmission. Starting in the 1830s, a network of steamships, railways, canals and telegraphs was gradually built to connect different parts of the world.
The book explains how the rate of information circulation increased many times over as mail systems were developed. Nevertheless, regional differences were huge. While improvements on the most significant trade routes between Europe, the Americas and East India were considered crucial, distant places such as California or Australia had to wait for gold fever to become important enough for regular communications. The growth of passenger services, especially for emigrants, was a major factor increasing the number of mail sailings.
The study covers the period from the Napoleonic wars to the foundation of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and includes the development of overseas business information transmission from the days of sailing ships to steamers and the telegraph.Book Details
Modernisation has been a constant theme in Russian history at least since Peter the Great launched a series of initiatives aimed at closing the economic, technical and cultural gap between Russia and the more ‘advanced’ countries of Europe. All of the leaders of the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia have been intensely aware of this gap, and have pursued a number of strategies, some more successful than others, in order to modernise the country. But it would be wrong to view modernisation as a unilinear process which was the exclusive preserve of the state. Modernisation has had profound effects on Russian society, and the attitudes of different social groups have been crucial to the success and failure of modernisation.
This volume examines the broad theme of modernisation in late imperial, Soviet, and post-Soviet Russia both through general overviews of particular topics, and specific case studies of modernisation projects and their impact. Modernisation is seen not just as an economic policy, but as a cultural and social phenomenon reflected through such diverse themes as ideology, welfare, education, gender relations, transport, political reform, and the Internet. The result is the most up to date and comprehensive survey of modernisation in Russia available, which highlights both one of the perennial problems and the challenges and prospects for contemporary Russia.Book Details
This book deals with 20th century resettlements in the western areas of the former USSR, in particular the territory of Karelia that was ceded by Finland in the WWII, Podolia in the Ukraine, and the North-West periphery of Russia in the Kola peninsula. Finns from Karelia emigrated to Finland, most of the Jews of Podolia were exterminated by Nazi Germany but the survivors later emigrated to Israel, and the sparsely populated territory beyond the Polar circle received the Societ conquerors of nature which they began to exploit. The empty areas were usually settled by planned state recruitment of relocated Soviet citizens, but in some cases also by spontaneous movement. Thus, a Ukrainian took over a Jewish house, a Chuvash kolkhos was dispersed along Finnish khutor houses, and youth in the town of Apatity began to prefer their home town in relation to the cities of Russia.
Everywhere the settlers met new and strange surroundings, and they had to construct places and meanings for themselves in their new home and restructure their local identity in relation to their places of origin and current abodes. They also had to create images of the former inhabitants and explanations for various strange details they preceived around themselves.
All articles within this volume are based on extensive field or archive work. This research project was funded by the Academy of Finland.Book Details