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Browsing by Author "Rousku, Joni"

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  • Rousku, Joni (2014)
    This Master s thesis focuses on the ways that residents of old Finnish wooden houses describe their lives in a traditional milieu during six different decades. I review the residents stories of their houses as dream homes, as comforting habitats and as a way of presenting one s personality to others. Source material consists of articles presenting homes in a Finnish interior design magazine, Avotakka, published between 1967 and 2013. The presented homes typically belong to middle and upper class owners working in creative occupations to the members of the Finnish creative class. Thus my work describes the changes the have occurred during 46 years in the everyday living and lifestyle of the Finnish middle class oriented towards wooden milieus. The thesis is hermeneutical in its character. In the 1960's and the 1970's the interviewees describe buying an old wooden house as an economical and thoroughly premeditated decision. This changes gradually during next decades as decisions become more rapid and driven. Since the 1990's the fear of losing an unique opportunity is clearly present in the stories. Purchasing an old wooden house is described as the fulfillment of destiny for their owners. The reasons given for the need to purchase an old wooden house also change. In the 1960's and the 1970's, following rapid urbanization, wooden houses in the rural areas are presented as safe-havens by the unadapted middle-class. These ascetic cottages allow their owners to relive their childhood experiences and restore their sense of self. This habitat relieves stress, mends relationships and enables their owners to cope with the urban everyday life, which they experience as hectic and hostile. After the 1990's recession, traditional milieu is increasingly seen as a sanctuary, which acts as a counterweight against increasingly demanding working lives of the owners. The interviewees flee to old wooden houses either in the countryside or cities wooden districts. Typically this flight takes place after the interviewee has gathered sufficient merits in the working life or after a personal crisis, which is caused by a failure to cope with harsh professional requirements. Traditional milieu works as a soothing environment and facilitates regaining a sense of coherence. Nostalgic dreams of life in a traditional wooden house can thus be seen as a reaction to wider changes in Finnish society. The wooden houses also serve as representation of their owners. Owning a wooden house and decorating it to one s home can be seen as a way of displaying one s values and tastes to others. Avotakka's articles tell stories about the members of middle-class who are social, down to earth and respect soft values in spite of their hard-driven professional identities. Interiors of the homes display the refined taste of their owners who nurture their houses cultural value. For some this has become their calling. The articles emphasize the difference between interviewees and the audience. Distinction by consumption is clearly present. The articles indirectly describe middle class experiences of anxiety and self-treatment. This presents itself as narrations of an individual losing control over one s life and the effort of regaining comprehensibility via moving in to a nostalgic milieu - by purchasing and renovating an old house. Succeeding in this creates happiness via sense of meaningful and controllable life.