Accepted Paper:

Expanded administrative territories and modification of local identities: reminiscing consolidated home town  


Minna Mäkinen (University of Jyväskylä)

Paper short abstract:

My paper concentrates on the region of municipality and its meanings as a place where people feel they belong to and as means to construct local identity. I ask how these meanings changes in the context of merged municipalities.

Paper long abstract:

In Finland, during the last years there has been a virile attempt to unify small municipalities together or join them to larger cities to form bigger administrative units. Consolidation processes have been some times complicated. People have worries on their everyday tasks as well as on bigger political, social and economic issues. It also seems that people become unsure about their local identity. The significance of identity shifting or changing has been also in the interest of Finnish media.

So, there is a good reason to ask, what happens to local identity in the case of expanded administrative territories. And further: is there a bond between administrative borders and the feelings of locality and placeness? If there is one, how can it be performed and expressed.

In my paper I articulate "municipal heritage" and the idea of the municipality as an imagined and emotional place, which is emphasized in the process of the consolidation of municipalities. People commit themselves to a place by engaging with it, talking about it and even fighting for it.

My empirical example concentrates on the one case, where small municipality, Säynätsalo, "disappeared" and was merged with a larger city of Jyväskylä in 1993.

Panel P33
Locality and cultural processes