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 book presents, above all, a study of the establishment and development of the Soviet organization and system of fashion industry and design as it gradually evolved in the years after the Second World War in the Soviet Union, which was, in the understanding of its leaders, reaching the mature or last stage of socialism when the country was firmly set on the straight trajectory to its final goal, Communism. What was typical of this complex and extensive system of fashion was that it was always loyally subservient to the principles of the planned socialist economy. This did not by any means indicate that everything the designers and other fashion professionals did was dictated entirely from above by the central planning agencies. Neither did it mean that their professional judgment would have been only secondary to ideological and political standards set by the Communist Party and the government of the Soviet Union. On the contrary, as our study shows, the Soviet fashion professionals had a lot of autonomy. They were eager and willing to exercise their own judgment in matters of taste and to set the agenda of beauty and style for Soviet citizens.
The present book is the first comprehensive and systematic history of the development of fashion and fashion institutions in the Soviet Union after the Second World War. Our study makes use of rich empirical and historical material that has been made available for the first time for scientific analysis and discussion. The main sources for our study came from the state, party and departmental archives of the former Soviet Union. We also make extensive use of oral history and the writings published in Soviet popular and professional press.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
The chapters of Fibula, Fabula, Fact – The Viking Age in Finland are intended to provide essential foundations for approaching the important topic of the Viking Age in Finland. These chapters are oriented to provide introductions to the sources, methods and perspectives of diverse disciplines in a way that is accessible to specialists from other fields, specialists from outside Finland, and also to non-specialist readers and students who may be more generally interested in the topic. Rather than detailed case studies, the contributors have sought to negotiate definitions of the Viking Age as a historical period in the cultural areas associated with modern-day Finland, and in areas associated with Finns, Karelians and other North Finnic linguistic-cultural groups more generally. Within the incredible diversity of data and disciplines represented here, the Viking Age tends to be distinguished by differentiating it from earlier and later periods, while the geographical space is quite fluidly defined for this era, which was long before the construction of modern nations with their fenced and guarded borders. Most significantly, the contributions lay emphasis on contextualizing the Viking Age within the complexities of defining cultural identities in the past through traces of cultural, linguistic or genetic features.
The volume opens with a general introduction to the topic that is intended to provide a frame of reference for discussion, paralleled by a closing afterward. The following chapters are organized according to three thematic sections which reflect the three aspects of any discussion of the Viking Age in Finland: Time, Space, and People – because any discussion of the ‘Viking Age’ in ‘Finland’ is necessarily concerned with individuals, societies and cultures.Book Details
Democracy is today a concept that is overwhelmingly positively evaluated almost everywhere. A lot has been written about socio-economic and cultural backgrounds of democratic regimes as well as their institutional settings. By contrast, not much is known about the political manoeuvres and speech acts by which 'democracy' has been tied to particular regions and cultures in concrete historical situations.
This book discusses a series of efforts to rhetorically produce a particular Nordic version of democracy. It shows that the rhetorical figure 'Nordic democracy' was a product of the age of totalitarianism and the Cold War. It explores the ways in which 'Nordic democracy' was used, mainly by the social democrats, to provide the welfare politics with cultural and historical legitimacy and foundations. Thus, it also acknowledges the ideological and geopolitical context in which the 'Nordic welfare state' was conceptualised and canonised.
The contributors of the book are specialists on Nordic politics and history, who share a particular interest in political rhetoric and conceptual history.Book Details
Green space has become a major issue in European cities in recent years as a result of enhanced environmental awareness, urban marketing, planning policy and growing population densities. Up to now, however, the subject of sports areas and grounds has attracted little research, despite the fact that since the First World War such public and private areas – from football pitches and running tracks to golf courses and tennis courts – have often comprised one of the most important and extensive types of green space in the European city. This book presents a pioneering comparative and multidisciplinary analysis of the development, use and impact of sports areas in the European city from the start of the 20th century up to the present time. Employing a range of historical, spatial and ecological approaches it examines when and why sports areas evolved, the contribution of municipalities and the private sector, the role of gender and class, and the impact on the urban landscape and ecology. Chapters cover urban sports areas in Finland, Britain, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy, illustrating the contrasts in the provision of green space across Europe.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