Strategic Practices

Hidden Histories of Gender in Finland 1880–2005

Strategic Practices: Hidden Histories of Gender in Finland 1880-2005 is a multidisciplinary research project which unites the disciplines of history and ethnology. The project is led by Professor Laura Stark at the Department of History and Ethnology, University of Jyväskylä.

The purpose of the project is to form a multidisciplinary research group to examine theoretical and methodological issues related to gender and power. The concept of gender system (sukupuolijärjestelmä), adopted from the social sciences in the early 1990s, dominated empirical and theoretical research throughout that decade. Post-structuralist and postmodern criticism has already made apparent the shortcomings of the sukupuolijärjestelmä model. The sukupuolijärjestelmä model has also proven problematic in empirical research which examines the past. As a concept, the sukupuolijärjestelmä model has proven too rigid and restricting, limiting our understanding of gender dynamics in different historical and cultural contexts, and our understanding of human agency in giving rise to these dynamics. The project seeks to illuminate not only how different human groups act within structures of power but also how they shape these structures through their actions.

Utilizing widely-accepted qualitative methods and large bodies of empirical data, the project Strategic Practices will develop a new theoretical framework to reinsert an historical understanding back into research on gender and power. This framework will allow us to trace out the expressions of gendered dynamics at the local, everyday level. Our ultimate aim is to give rise to serious new empirical research.

The project is funded by the Academy of Finland research programme Power in Finland for the period 2007 – 2010. The project researchers are from the University of Jyväskylä and the University of Helsinki.


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