A Return to Interspecific Coexistence - Posthuman Interpretations from Folklore, Oral History, and Popular Culture

01.01.2019 - 28.02.2022

Research group

The focus of this project is the human-nature relationship. Not only does natural world surround human beings but nature also permeates our humanity to the core. The project investigates the human-nature bond by using the methods and materials commonly used in folklore research (the study of traditions and folk poetry). The project’s publications will be made up of scholarly articles, works of sound art, and their background materials; the materials gathered to explore the theme of each work in-depth will be put together for educational purposes. A key research question will address the transformation of the archaic human-nature relationship thanks to modernization and industrialization; due to these processes, present-day attitudes to nature range from nostalgic, critical or indifferent. Archived folklore offers insights into the most archaic layers of Finnish culture. Interpreting these materials within a posthuman framework also creates possibilities for a renewal of folkloristic perspectives (e.g., the latest international research on belief legends). Changes in the relationship to nature is discernible in the occupational folklore collected as oral histories; the accounts of these transformations are interpreted carefully through close reading and methods from microhistory. As an example of the present-day human-nature relationship, we examine the dystopian imagery and narrative accounts of contemporary life, for example stories about industrial farms. By using new source materials, interpretative methods and publication methods, we aim to awaken Finnish interest in the foundations of the human-nature bond, while keeping in mind that Finnishness can no longer be understood as exclusionary, but rather from the outset as multicultural and international. Folkloric phenomena clearly show that images and impressions do not respect state borders. Economic modernization and dystopian projections of our future world also require examination within a broader context than the nation.

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Time period

01.01.2019 - 28.02.2022

Group members - UEF

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Publications by the research group members

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