chapter  5
16 Pages

Finnish conceptions of children and the history of child welfare

ByMirja Satka

This chapter discusses how different understandings of children have contributed to the formation of national social policies and child welfare for the young generation in the first half of the twentieth century. In the Finnish case this was a period of a very rapid transformation from a dominantly agrarian society to an industrial one.1 I consider childhood and youth, as well as the notions of them, as socially constructed and thus continuously transforming. The material organisation of childhood, similarly to social and cultural organisation, primarily occurs in children’s families. Over the course of modernisation, resources outside of the family have become both increasingly important in organising children’s everyday lives and a matter of adults’ political will. This has had direct impact on the generational structure both in families and in society, and it has emphasised children and adults as relationally and socially – even biologically – dependent categories.