Tavoitteena vahva ja yhtenäinen kansa : historia ja kieli kansallisen identiteetin rakentamisen välineinä Pätsin aikakauden Virossa 1934-1940
Published inJyväskylä studies in humanities
In this dissertation, I study national campaigns aimed at constructing Estonian national identity in 1934–1940. The campaigns were organized through the cooperation of Konstantin Päts’ authoritarian government and civil society. I focus on the folk art campaign and on the name changing campaign. The name changing campaign was the largest national project in Estonia, aiming at the Estonification of names. Initially, the campaign focused on changing individuals’ surnames and first names, but later also on changing the names of places, streets and properties. The name changing campaign had history political and language political dimensions. Through the folk art campaign, the state tried to affect the Estonians’ historical identity. The purpose of the campaign was to promote old Estonian handicrafts and the use of national costumes. With the folk art campaign, the state used historical culture for political purposes. I tried to find out how national campaigns were used to construct and unify Estonians’ national identity. What kind of Estonians did the state try to create through the history and language political campaigns and how did history and language politics affect society during the reign of Päts? National identity and the way in which it has been formed over decades and centuries has an effect on current Estonians. This manifests itself, for example, in how individual Estonians relate to their own people and to their national symbols. My study tells about the construction of a national identity and the unification of the people through state-owned projects aimed at the whole nation. In the interwar period, similar construction and unification of national identity was also a trend elsewhere, especially in the states that had recently become independent or reestablished their sovereignty. National campaigns were also organized elsewhere, and the most important role model for Estonia was Finland. Yet, in Estonia the campaigns were more extensive and the role of the government was more significant than in Finland. With the role of the Estonian state, there was more similarity to authoritarian Poland. The most important promoter of the campaigns was the National Propaganda Office, and its role models were probably in totalitarian Germany and the Soviet Union. As the main sources of the study, I use campaign proceedings and correspondence, as well as articles and speeches that were published in the newspapers to promote the campaigns. I also use literature from the period associated with the campaigns. I use historical qualitative research methods and content analysis. The theoretical background of my study is in the study of nationalism and of the politics of history and language. The main purpose of the national campaigns was to strengthen national identity and to unify the people, but the result was partly the opposite, because people who criticized Päts’ government did not take part in the campaigns. Even so, campaign outcomes reveal that the majority of Estonians were more united and had a stronger national identity than before. Externally, Estonia also seemed more united and stronger. Experiences of the decades of the Soviet period affected current Estonians and their national identity, but Estonians’ current national identity is mostly based on the national identity created at the time of the national awakening at the end of the nineteenth century and strengthened during the two decades of the first period of Estonian independence. ...
PublisherUniversity of Jyväskylä
Päts, KonstantinLaidoner, JohanEenpalu, KaarelViron sivistysliittoEstoniahistorialliskvalitatiivinen menetelmälaadullinen sisällönanalyysivirolaistamiskampanjatpolitics of historypolitics of languagenational campaignsestonification of namesfolk art campaignnational identitypolitics of identity1930-lukuhistoriapolitiikkavirolaisuusidentiteettiyhtenäisyyssymbolitkielipolitiikkakansallinen identiteettikansantaidekansankulttuurikansanperinnehenkilönnimetnimenmuutoksetsanomalehdetpropaganda
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