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Finland’s social divisions and political integration in the 20th century: democratic construction of ‘the social’ and ‘political project’

  • Journal of the Scandinavian Society of Korea
  • Abbr : JSSK
  • 2017, (20), pp.137-180
  • Publisher : The Scandinavian Society of Korea
  • Research Area : Social Science > Area Studies > North Europe(Scandinavian)

Inchoon Kim 1

1연세대학교 동서문제연구원

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper examines Finland’s social divisions and political integration mainly focusing on the first half of the 20th century. In this period Finland experienced dramatic historical path of independence, revolution, civil war, democratic development and welfare state. This paper examines how Finland responded to ‘the social’, how it was able to overcome language and class divisions and achieve social integration after the Finnish civil war of 1918. To this end it analyses ‘the social’, democracy and the ‘political project’ and social integration and democratic development through what ideologies, institutions and strategies. The main components of the ‘political project’ after the Finnish civil war were as follows. First, democracy and neutrality along with the capitalist system contributed to normative power and stability and this helped to overcome social divisions and conflicts and achieve ‘national’ integration. The second is that social reform and universal welfare state contributed to class compromise and social integration by weakening ideological conflicts. In the early 20th century, at the time when ideology, class and language conflicts were serious, Finland’s rapid democratization was very vulnerable in line with the pursuit of complete sovereignty as a new independent state. But Finland’s democracy continued and underwent the civil war and WW II. Today’s neoliberal globalization, as it was in the late 19th and the early 20th century, has diminished redistribution and deepened social inequality. Discussions of the political and democracy are very important in the midst of the crisis of ‘the social’.

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* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.