University of Oulu

International Research in Children’s Literature, Volume 13 Issue 2, Page 289-305, ISSN 1755-6198 Available Online Nov 2020,

Forced removal of national minority children in the Swedish and Finnish Arctic through schooling

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Author: Palo, Annbritt1; Kokkola, Lydia2; Manderstedt, Lena1
Organizations: 1Luleå University of Technology, Sweden
2University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Edinburgh University Press, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-11-26


Whilst the colonial practices of child removal outside of Europe are (in-)famous, similar practices within Europe have received less critical attention. This paper examines novels and short stories set in Sweden, Finland, and the border area known as the Torne Valley. It analyses the literary portrayal of the forced removals of children, almost exclusively from the Sámi- and the Finnish/Meänkieli-speaking minorities, into workhouses or boarding schools in the Arctic regions of Sweden and Finland in the twentieth century. These stories are set against the historical background; our focus is on modalities of the trauma experienced. The discussion reveals recurring themes regarding the direct and indirect violence experienced by children, and highlights the inadequacies in the theorisation of coloniser-colonised situations developed in other contexts for describing European Arctic literature.

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Series: International research in children's literature
ISSN: 1755-6198
ISSN-E: 1755-6198
ISSN-L: 1755-6198
Volume: 13
Issue: 2
Pages: 289 - 305
DOI: 10.3366/ircl.2020.0359
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 6122 Literature studies
Copyright information: © International Research Society for Children’s Literature.