Domestic dexterity and cultural policy : the idea of cottage industry and historical experience in Finland from the great famine to the reconstruction period
The concept of cottage industry (kotiteollisuus) referred especially to rural craft practices. For the promotion of cottage industries, a state administrative organ and a network of cottage industry associations and schools were established. A sphere developed and monitored by specialists, cottage industry policies were planned as official committee work. However, the matter was usually addressed as ‘the idea of cottage industry’ (kotiteollisuusaate). In this study, the historical idea of cottage industry and its cultural and political backgrounds are analysed. The starting point of the investigation is in the post-WWII Cottage Industry Production Committee, but from its years of activity, 1944–1949, the study moves on to the emergence and establishment of the idea of cottage industry and the respective policy line in the late 19th and the early 20th centuries. The study scrutinises, who promoted cottage industries and what their cultural, social, and ideological backgrounds were, and how they influenced the construction of cottage industry policy. Research work builds on the microhistorical research angle making use of textual details in the 1949 committee report. Following the clue method, historical sources are analysed, including earlier committee reports, newspaper articles, meeting and exhibition documents, small publications, and personal archives. Through the notion of historical experience, special attention is paid to the continuity and recollection of the idea of cottage industry as it was expressed by the 1944–1949 committee members in the magazine Kotiteollisuus. The study found that cottage industry created a 19th-century administrative and political concept that was applied in the first instance to manage critical situations caused by crop failures and other societal hardships. Especially in the aftermath of the WWII, cottage industry was essentially conceived of as a cultural political measure to balance the society facing large settlement and land acquisition projects by creating a sense of cultural continuity through the means of domestic craft practices. The historical idea of cottage industry and the respective sphere of administration summoned a remarkable cultural political factor that has strongly affected Finnish craft culture. ...
PublisherUniversity of Jyväskylä
cottage industry history of cultural policy cultural history history of ideas microhistory historical experience historical trauma craft history heritage policy 19th-century Finland 1860s’ famine reconstruction period 1860's famine 1800-luku kotiteollisuus historia kulttuuripolitiikka kulttuurihistoria aatehistoria mikrohistoria traumat käsityö kulttuuriperintö katovuodet jälleenrakentaminen Suomi
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