With fire, "sisu" and magic. A study of the processes of acculturation and assimilation among the Forest Finns in Värmland, Orsa and Norrland.

Project leader

Funding source

Swedish Research Council - Vetenskapsrådet (VR)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2010
End date: 31/12/2012
Funding: 3420000 SEK


During the period 1580-1640 vast forest areas of central Sweden were colonized by so called Forest Finns, i.e. a group of swidden cultivators originating from Savo in Finland. Gradually the Forest Finns became integrated into the Swedish society finally assimilating. The pace of assimilation varied between one Finnish settlement to another. Since earlier research has hardly cast any light on the advancement of these processes our purpose is to examine the progress of the processes of acculturation and assimilation in a number of Forest Finnish settlements from the time of colonization until the beginning of the 20th century. The perspective of gender and generation will be central in the study. The project will firstly investigate the strategies that different Finnish groups used in order to create and maintain diasporic identity. That is, how they upheld symbolic the boundaries that set them apart from the Swedish population. The project focuses on certain central markers of Finnish identity, such as the language, swidden cultivation, architecture, cuisine and folk belief. The marriage strategies of the Finns will also be studied and the consequences these had for integration. Secondly, we will study the strategies the representatives of the society employed in order to accelerate the integration of the Finnish population. Because the strategies varied both in time and space we will study the changes in the historical perspective and in their social context.

External Partners

Last updated on 2017-31-03 at 12:59