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Environmental Trauma in the Narratives of Postwar Reconstruction: The Loss of Place and Identity in Northern Finland After World War II

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Abstract

This chapter discusses environmental trauma caused by sudden changes in the everyday physical environment. For example, various development projects altering the environment can activate trauma processes similar to war-related trauma. The origin of environmental trauma is an event that changes the physical environment, but it easily extends to other areas of life. The study is based on qualitative interviews, and the data is analyzed leaning on human-environment and place-attachment theories. The interviewees had experienced dramatic changes in their environment caused by the Lapland War and postwar hydropower construction in Northern Finland. The change in the environment destabilized the wellbeing of local people, causing depression and anxiety. Environmental trauma is characterized by disconnections, silences and delays. Although trauma can be repressed for decades, it can still be passed on in a socially mediated process.

Keywords

  • Cultural trauma
  • Eco-anxiety
  • Environmental change
  • Environmental trauma
  • Hydropower

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Fig. 10.1

Notes

  1. 1.

    Oula Seitsonen and Eerika Koskinen-Koivisto, “‘Where the F… is Vuotso?’: Heritage of Second World War Forced Movement and Destruction in a Sámi Reindeer-Herding Community in Finnish Lapland,” International Journal of Heritage Studies 24:4 (2018), 421–441; Marianne Junila, “Wars on the Home Front: Mobilization, Economy and Everyday Experiences,” in Finland in World War II: History, Memory, Interpretations, ed. by Tiina Kinnunen and Ville Kivimäki (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 191–232.

  2. 2.

    Interview data Lapland War (LW), 2013–18, in possession of Outi Autti; Onerva Hintikka, Pako Lapin sodasta (Helsinki: Maahenki, 2015).

  3. 3.

    Veli-Pekka Lehtola, “Second World War as a Trigger for Transcultural Changes among Sami People in Finland,” Acta Borealia 32:2 (2015), 125–47; Veli-Pekka Lehtola, Surviving the Upheaval of Arctic War: Evacuation and Return of the Sámi People in Sápmi and Finland During and After the Second World War (Inari: Kustannus-Puntsi, 2019); Veli-Pekka Lehtola, Saamelainen evakko (Inari: Kustannus-Puntsi, 2004).

  4. 4.

    Erkki Rautio, Tuomo Korteniemi and Mirja Vuopio, Pohjoiset pakolaiset: Tietoa ja tarinoita Lapin sodasta ja lappilaisten evakkotaipaleelta (Oulu: Pohjan väylä, 2004); Hintikka (2015); Marja Tuominen, “Lapin ajanlasku: Menneisyys, tulevaisuus ja jälleenrakennus historian reunalla,” in Rauhaton rauha: Suomalaiset ja sodan päätyminen 1944–1950, ed. by Ville Kivimäki and Kirsi-Maria Hytönen (Tampere: Vastapaino, 2015), 39–70.

  5. 5.

    Martti Ursin, Pohjois-Suomen tuhot ja jälleenrakennus saksalaissodan 1944–1945 jälkeen (Oulu: Pohjoinen, 1980), 29–32.

  6. 6.

    Interview data LW.

  7. 7.

    Ursin (1980), 383–5.

  8. 8.

    Seitsonen and Koskinen-Koivisto (2018), 430.

  9. 9.

    Tuominen (2015), 58; Interview data LW 2013–18.

  10. 10.

    Marja Tuominen, “Lapin sodan tuhot ja jälleenrakennus,” in Lappi: Maa, kansat, kulttuurit, ed. by Ilmo Massa and Hanna Snellman (Helsinki: SKS, 2003), 102–4.

  11. 11.

    River Kemijoki is 550 km long and its basin covers an area of 51,000 km2. River Iijoki has a length of 370 km and a basin area of 14,191 km2.

  12. 12.

    Outi Autti, “Aina vaan tuli iso lasti herroja: Elämäntavan muutos Kemijoella,” in Lappi palaa sodasta: Mielen hiljainen jälleenrakennus, ed. by Marja Tuominen and Mervi Löfgren (Tampere: Vastapaino, 2018), 308–33; Outi Autti, Valtavirta muutoksessa—vesivoima ja paikalliset asukkaat Kemijoella, Acta Universitatis Ouluensis E136 (Oulu: University of Oulu, 2013b); Kai Hoffman, Pohjolan Voima 1943–1993 (Oulu: Kaleva, 1993); Leena Suopajärvi, Vuotos- ja Ounasjokikamppailujen kentät ja merkitykset Lapissa (Rovaniemi: Lapin yliopisto, 2001); Kustaa Vilkuna, Lohi: Kemijoen ja sen lähialueen lohenkalastuksen historia (Keuruu: Otava, 1975).

  13. 13.

    Outi Autti and Timo P. Karjalainen, “The Point of No Return: Losing Salmon in Two Northern Rivers,” Nordia Geographical Publications 41:5 (2013a), 45–57.

  14. 14.

    Anu Soikkeli, “Tyyppitalojen aika: lappilaisen asumisen muutos,” in Tuominen and Löfgren, eds (2018), 143–63.

  15. 15.

    Tuominen (2015), 54.

  16. 16.

    Jeffrey C. Alexander, “Toward a Theory of Cultural Trauma,” in Jeffrey C. Alexander, Ron Eyerman, Bernard Giesen, Neil J. Smelser and Piotr Sztompka, Cultural Trauma and Collective Identity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004), 1–30; Ron Eyerman, “Social Theory and Trauma,” Acta Sociologica 56:1 (2013), 41–53.

  17. 17.

    Steven Feld and Keith H. Basso, “Introduction,” in Senses of Place, ed. by Steven Feld and Keith H. Basso (Santa Fe, NM: School of American Research Advanced Seminar Series, 1996), 3–12; Gillian Rose, “Place and Identity: A Sense of Place,” in A Place in the World, ed. by Doreen Massey and Pat Jess (Milton Keynes: Open University Press, 1995), 87–132; Edward Relph, Place and Placelessness (London: Pion, 1976); Yi-Fu Tuan, Topophilia: A Study of Environmental Perception, Attitudes, and Values (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1974).

  18. 18.

    Ann E. Kaplan, Climate Trauma: Foreseeing the Future in Dystopian Film and Fiction (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2016).

  19. 19.

    See, for example, W. Neil Adger, Jon Barnett, Katrina Brown, Nadine Marshall and Karen O’Brien, “Cultural Dimensions of Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation,” Nature Climate Change 3 (2013), 112–17; Helene Amundsen, “Place Attachment as a Driver of Adaptation in Coastal Communities in Northern Norway,” Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability 20:3 (2015), 257–76. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13549839.2013.838751

  20. 20.

    Alexander (2004), 1.

  21. 21.

    See Anna Wylegała’s discussion on individual and collective trauma in this book.

  22. 22.

    Doreen Massey, “The Conceptualization of Place,” in A Place in the World, ed. by Doreen Massey and Pat Jess (Milton Keynes: Open University Press, 1995), 45–86.

  23. 23.

    Natalie Clark, Rebecca Lovell, Benedict W. Wheeler, Sahran Higgins, Michael Depledge and Ken Norris, “Biodiversity, Cultural Pathways, and Human Health: A Framework,” Trends in Ecology and Evolution 29:4 (2014), 198–204. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2014.01.009

  24. 24.

    Susan Clayton, Christie Manning, Kirra Krygsman and Meighen Speiser, Mental Health and Our Changing Climate: Impacts, Implications, and Guidance (Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association / ecoAmerica, 2017).

  25. 25.

    Jeff E. Malpas, Place and Experience: A Philosophical Topography (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999); Barbara B. Brown and Douglas D. Perkins, “Disruptions in Place Attachment,” in Place Attachment, ed. by Irwin Altman and Sentha M. Low (New York: Plenum, 1992), 279–304.

  26. 26.

    Malpas (1999); John Agnew, “Space: Place,” in Spaces of Geographical Thought: Deconstructing Human Geography’s Binaries ed. by Paul Cloke and Ron Johnston (London: Sage, 2005), 81–96; Edvard Relph, “Place,” in Companion Encyclopedia of Geography: The Environmental and Humankind, ed. by Ian Douglas, Richard John Hugget and Mike Robinson (London: Routledge, 1996), 906–24.

  27. 27.

    Malpas (1999).

  28. 28.

    Agnew (2005).

  29. 29.

    Tim Ingold, The Perception of the Environment: Essays on Livelihood, Dwelling and Skill (London: Routledge, 2000), 192.

  30. 30.

    Malpas (1999), 9.

  31. 31.

    Anne-Mari Forss, Paikan estetiikka: Eletyn ja koetun ympäristön fenomenologiaa (Helsinki: Yliopistopaino, 2007).

  32. 32.

    Rose (1995); see also Maria Vittoria Giuliani and Roberta M. Feldman, “Place Attachment in a Developmental and Cultural Context,” Journal of Environmental Psychology 13 (1993), 267–74; Shmuel Shamai, “Sense of Place: An Empirical Measurement,” Geoforum 22 (1991), 347–58.

  33. 33.

    Harold M. Proshansky, Abbe K. Fabian and Robert Kaminoff, “Place-identity: Physical World Socialization of the Self,” Journal of Environmental Psychology 3 (1983), 59.

  34. 34.

    Leila Scannell and Robert Gifford, “Defining Place Attachment: A Tripartite Organizing Framework,” Journal of Environmental Psychology 30 (2010), 1–10.

  35. 35.

    Brown and Perkins (1992).

  36. 36.

    Marjo Tourula and Arja Rautio, Terveyttä luonnosta (Oulu: Thule-instituutti / Oulun yliopisto, Metsähallitus & Oulun seutu, 2014), http://www.oulu.fi/sites/default/files/content/Terveytt%C3%A4_luonnosta.pdf, retrieved on 10 March 2020; Clark et al. (2014).

  37. 37.

    Klaus Eder, “The Cultural Code of Modernity and the Problem of Nature: A Critique of the Naturalistic Notion of Progress,” in Rethinking Progress, ed. by Jeffrey Alexander and Piotr Sztompka (Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1990).

  38. 38.

    Amy Kipp, Ashlee Cunsolo, Kelly Vodden, Nia King, Sean Manners and Sherilee L. Harper, “At-a-Glance: Climate Change Impacts on Health and Wellbeing in Rural and Remote Regions across Canada – A Synthesis of the Literature,” Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention in Canada Research, Policy and Practice 39:4 (2019), 122–6; Brown and Perkins (1992).

  39. 39.

    For example, Giampietro Gobo and Andrea Molle, Doing Ethnography, rev. ed. (London: Sage, 2017 [2008]).

  40. 40.

    Outi Autti, “The Wise Salmon that Returned Home,” in Shared Lives of Humans and Animals: Animal Agency in the Global North, ed. by Taina Syrjämaa and Tuomas Räisänen (London: Routledge, 2017), 179–91.

  41. 41.

    Hsiu-Fang Hsieh and Sarah E. Shannon, “Three Approaches to Qualitative Content Analysis,” Qualitative Health Research 15:9 (2005), 1277–88.

  42. 42.

    Interview data LW/M/O (Lapland War, 2013–18; M=male; F=female; O=older generation; Y=younger generation).

  43. 43.

    Veikko Kerätär, Evakkoreissu, Yläkemijoen historia, https://ylakemijoenhistoria.wordpress.com/keratar-veikko-evakkoreissu/, retrieved on 10 March 2020.

  44. 44.

    Toivo Saunavaara, Muisteluksia evakkomatkasta Ruotsiin vuosina 1944–1945, Yläkemijoen historia, https://ylakemijoenhistoria.wordpress.com/evakkomatka-ruotsiin-ts/, retrieved on 10 March 2020.

  45. 45.

    Saunavaara (2020).

  46. 46.

    Tuominen (2015), 54.

  47. 47.

    Tuominen (2015), 52.

  48. 48.

    LW/F/O.

  49. 49.

    LW/M/O.

  50. 50.

    LW/M/O.

  51. 51.

    Ingold (2000), 195.

  52. 52.

    Saunavaara (2020).

  53. 53.

    LW/F/O.

  54. 54.

    LW/M/O.

  55. 55.

    Saunavaara (2020).

  56. 56.

    LW/M/O.

  57. 57.

    LW/F/O.

  58. 58.

    Suopajärvi (2001); Kemijoki: Power plants and production, https://www.kemijoki.fi/en/power-plants-and-production-2.html, retrieved on 10 March 2020.

  59. 59.

    Vilkuna (1975); Hoffman (1993).

  60. 60.

    Jarmo Rusanen, Role of the Local People in the Utilization of Water Resources: A Case Study of the River Iijoki in Northern Finland (Oulu: Pohjois-Suomen maantieteellinen seura, 1989).

  61. 61.

    Autti (2013b); Timo Järvikoski, Vesien säännöstely ja paikallisyhteisö (Turku: Turun yliopisto, 1979); Matti Luostarinen, A Social Geography of Hydro-Electric Power Projects in Northern Finland: Personal Spatial Identity in the Face of Environmental Changes (Oulu: University of Oulu, 1982).

  62. 62.

    Interview data Kemijoki 2009–10, in possession of Outi Autti. KEMI/F/O.

  63. 63.

    Interview data Iijoki 2009–10, in possession of Outi Autti. II/M/O.

  64. 64.

    KEMI/M/Y.

  65. 65.

    Vivienne Walkerdine, Aina Olsvold and Monica Rudberg, “Researching Embodiment and Intergenerational Trauma Using the Work of Davoine and Gaudilliere: History Walked in the Door,” Subjectivity 6 (2013), 272–97, https://doi.org/10.1057/sub.2013.8; Marja Sirkkola, Multisensory Environments in Social Care: Participation and Empowerment in Sociocultural Multisensory Work (Hämeenlinna: HAMK, 2010).

  66. 66.

    KEMI/F/O.

  67. 67.

    KEMI/M/Y.

  68. 68.

    Autti (2017), 189.

  69. 69.

    Tuuli Lähdesmäki, Tuija Saresma, Kaisa Hiltunen, Saara Jäntti, Nina Sääskilahti, Antti Vallius and Kaisa Ahvenjärvi, “Fluidity and Flexibility of ‘Belonging’: Uses of the Concept in Contemporary Research,” Acta Sociologica 59:3 (2016), 233–47.

  70. 70.

    Clark et al. (2014).

  71. 71.

    Lehtola (2015); Lehtola (2018).

  72. 72.

    KEMI/F/O.

  73. 73.

    Jay Winter, “Thinking about silence,” in Shadows of War: A Social History of Silence in the Twentieth Century, ed. by Efrat Ben-Ze’ev, Ruth Ginio and Jay Winter (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 3–31.

  74. 74.

    KEMI/M/O.

  75. 75.

    Outi Autti, research diary, April 2013.

  76. 76.

    KEMI/F/O.

  77. 77.

    Tuominen (2003), 104–5; Tuominen (2015), 69.

  78. 78.

    KEMI/M/Y.

  79. 79.

    LW/F/O.

  80. 80.

    KEMI/M/O. See also Anna Wylegała’s data examples where sudden heart attacks and deaths are linked with unbearable war experiences.

  81. 81.

    II/M/Y.

  82. 82.

    II/F/O.

  83. 83.

    II/M/Y.

  84. 84.

    Järvikoski (1979); Autti (2013b).

  85. 85.

    II/M/Y.

  86. 86.

    See Danutė Gailienė’s “Case study A” of farmer V.B. in this book.

  87. 87.

    Brian W. Eisenhauer, Richard Krannich and Dale Blahna, “Attachments to Special Places on Public Lands: An Analysis of Activities, Reason for Attachments, and Community Connections,” Society & Natural Resources 13 (2000), 421–41.

  88. 88.

    Autti (2017).

  89. 89.

    Ville Kivimäki, “Sodanjälkeisiä hiljaisuuksia: Kokemusten, tunteiden ja trauman historiaa,” in Tuominen and Löfgren, eds (2018), 34–57.

  90. 90.

    See Peter Leese’s introduction in this book.

  91. 91.

    On postmemory, see, for example, Marianne Hirsch, “The Generation of Postmemory,” Poetics Today 29:1 (2008), 103–128.

  92. 92.

    Adger et al. (2012).

Acknowledgement

I wish to thank Dr. Marjo Tourula for her contribution to this work. Our discussions are much appreciated. This work has been supported by the Academy of Finland (grant number 310855).

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Autti, O. (2022). Environmental Trauma in the Narratives of Postwar Reconstruction: The Loss of Place and Identity in Northern Finland After World War II. In: Kivimäki, V., Leese, P. (eds) Trauma, Experience and Narrative in Europe after World War II. Palgrave Studies in the History of Experience. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-84663-3_10

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