A Place of their Own: Family Farming in Eastern Finland by Ray Abrahams

By Ray Abrahams

In response to box learn in jap Finland now not faraway from the Russian border, this publication is an account of the most good points of rural society within the zone. It can pay specific awareness to the adaptability of farming households in a speedily altering global. matters taken care of contain marriage and the relations, paintings and mechanization, succession to farms, and the paradoxical mix of fierce individualism and cooperation. significant topics of the booklet are the relation among legislation and customized, which isn't continually what it sort of feels at the floor, and the advanced interlocking of farm, kin, and the broader society.

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Political stability was threatened both by the depression and by the example of strong Fascist movements elsewhere in Europe. 9 The movement had a firm grass-roots base, especially among the big and middle-level farmers of Pohjanmaa in western Finland, who believed their independent status and prosperity were threatened both by Communism and by the depression. 10 It also enjoyed substantial government support at first, but it gradually got out of hand and embarked upon an unsuccessful attempt at a coup d'etat in 1932.

There was some local opposition, however, and the commune council would only agree to the proposal if the villagers themselves bore the cost of upkeep. New proposals were made, and rejected, in 1883 and 1884, but the tide turned in 1887. Taavi Karki, a member of a longstanding Vieki family, had gone bankrupt, and his house and land were bought at auction by a Lieksa merchant, Fredrik Hamalainen. He, perhaps partly in an effort to establish good 16 17 See Saloheimo (1953, pp. 395-400 and 517-22) for similar developments in the Nurmes area.

By this period, also, the opportunity for such landless and dependent people to fall back on swidden agriculture had been drastically reduced if not completely lost. It is clear that many individuals and families were impoverished during the nineteenth century, though a few did manage to recover. Famine years, population growth, the development of the money economy and the need for adaptation to new pressures all made it difficult for many families to survive, especially if they were temporarily weakened by the sickness or death of key members.

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