Flexible domesticities : bachelorhood, home and everyday practices in Finland from the 1880s to the 1930s
Title: Flexible domesticities : bachelorhood, home and everyday practices in Finland from the 1880s to the 1930s
Author: NEVALAINEN, Laika Katriina
Citation: Florence : European University Institute, 2018
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of History and Civilization
This thesis is a study of the everyday lives and domesticity of Finnish bachelors from the 1880s to the 1930s. The thesis analyses bachelors’ living arrangements, homemaking and domestic practices, domestic possessions, meanings of home and personal sense of belonging. The thesis approaches this topic through four different themes: 1. Bachelors’ relationship to family and family homes; 2. Bachelor ‘boxes’, which were rented rooms or small apartments in which a bachelor lived alone or with other bachelors; 3. Sailors and their mobile lifestyle; and 4. Communal living arrangements: student homes, sailors’ homes, a municipal ‘bachelor building’ built in Helsinki and old men’s homes. The thesis combines a quantitative analysis of census records and probates with a qualitative analysis of personal correspondence and diaries, oral history sources, periodicals and the archives of different types of organisations. Although bachelors have remained mostly invisible in previous research on home and domesticity, this thesis demonstrates that in researching home and everyday life marital status, life stage and age are critical as considerations of class and gender. In order to see beyond normative middle-class definitions and ideals of home, the thesis develops an open approach to analysing the meanings and practices of home by combining tools from several fields: critical geography of home, recent social and cultural history approaches to practices and material culture, microhistory, gender history, and approaches to mobility. The concepts of flexible/temporal, portable, communal, outsourced and postable domesticity have been formulated to stretch our understanding of domesticity beyond a normative family home. The thesis argues that central to understanding bachelors and domesticity is to analyse how bachelors, on the one hand, adapted to temporary circumstances, varying degrees of mobility and assumptions about bachelorhood, but, on the other hand, by lacking the responsibilities of a marital family had the freedom to follow their personal desires and needs.
Defence date: 02 March 2018; Examining Board: Professor Pieter M. Judson European University Institute (Supervisor), Professor Laura Lee Downs, European University Institute; Professor Pirjo Markkola, University of Tampere, Finland; Professor Alastair Owens, Queen Mary University of London
Type of Access: embargoedAccess