Accepted Paper:

Consolidation of municipalities and local identity  


Lauri Katiskoski (University of Turku )

Paper short abstract:

The municipality reform is changing not only the map of communes but also the local identity of the inhabitants. The living area and the local culture affect the idea of locality of the inhabitants.

Paper long abstract:

In the coming years Finnish municipalities will undergo extensive reforms due to the ongoing local government reform. The aim is to create communes that are economically robust and at the same time able to provide basic public services. New municipalities are born and a numerous amount of old councils are consolidated to a part of something bigger.

In 2009 four Finnish municipalities were consolidated to the town of Naantali with 18 000 inhabitants. The present town of Naantali is a good example of a modern Finnish municipality that consists of both urban and rural areas. Naantali is economically strong, but the variation between the old localities is large.

In my paper I am going to focus on the local government reform in Naantali. My principal question is how the consolidation affects the inhabitants' own knowledge of their local identity. In Naantali communication between the areas and also the citizen's opportunity to take part in local policy has come under question. In my research I focus on what local people are thinking about the reorganization of the municipalities and how it affects peoples normal life in the new city. Has something changed and if, what has changed? Are people facing new problems? In that case, are those problems local or are they concerning the whole town.

The paper is based on my master's thesis in European ethnology at the University of Turku that is a part of project about consolidations of municipalities financed by the Kone Foundation.

Panel P33
Locality and cultural processes