University of Oulu

Soikkeli, Anu (2021) Standardized housing concepts in the North : Sámi housing meets Western hygienic norms in twentieth-century Finland. In E. Ruuskanen & H. Hakosalo (Eds.), In pursuit of healthy environments: Historical cases on the environment–health nexus (pp. 218-238). Routledge.

Standardized housing concepts in the North : Sámi housing meets Western hygienic norms in twentieth-century Finland

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Author: Soikkeli, Anu1
Organizations: 1Oulu University School of Architecture, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: closed
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Language: English
Published: Routledge, 2021
Publish Date: 2022-05-13


The Sámi are an indigenous people living in the northernmost parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland and in North-Western Russia. This chapter discusses the development of Sámi housing, and in particular the way cultural conceptions of purity and hygiene influenced Finnish efforts to valorize and improve it. It opens with a discussion on nineteenth-century descriptions of the Sámi way of life and then focuses on the post-Second World War period of reconstruction. The period was characterized by the large-scale introduction of type-house planning, especially in the war-ravaged province of Lapland, where the Finnish parts of the Sámi homeland were located. The reconstruction was guided by legislation, influenced by contemporary ideals of regulation and standardization and, as the chapter will show, by deep-rooted notions of purity and hygiene. While type-planned housing were seen (by the Finns) as a means of offering similar and equally good housing to both Finns and Sámi, it involved a major rupture in Sámi housing traditions and brought the Sámi culture and way of life closer to those of the Finnish majority.

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ISBN: 978-0-367-25905-1
ISBN Print: 978-0-367-25909-9
Pages: 118 - 136
DOI: 10.4324/9780367259099-10
Host publication: In pursuit of healthy environments : historical cases on the environment–health nexus
Host publication editor: Ruuskanen, Esa
Hakosalo, Heini
Type of Publication: A3 Book chapter
Field of Science: 615 History and archaeology
211 Architecture
520 Other social sciences
Copyright information: © 2021 The Author. This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in In Pursuit of Healthy Environments on 13 November 2020, available online: