Kulturforskningar i Tornedalen: Fältarbete och resultat från 1922 års Norrbottensexpedition

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In the summer of 1922, fieldwork was conducted in the Tornedalen district of northern Sweden, in the immediate vicinity of the border with Finland. Three young men travelled together through the district on a motorcycle, documenting archaic buildings and villages in words and images. This documentation effort was part of a larger endeavour to survey and collect all the different aspects of what was presumed to be a vanishing peasant culture. The Nordic Museum (Nordiska museet) was responsible for the work in Tornedalen, with the ethnologist Sigurd Erixon in charge of all such investigations in Sweden. As early as 1917, the existence of a specific type of barn in the district had led Erixon to define Tornedalen as a specific cultural region.
The more in-depth studies conducted in 1922 did not change that. Another conclusion drawn by the fieldworkers was that there were no clear boundaries within the district that could be explained by differences between Swedish and Finnish culture. In the area they studied, most of the inhabitants spoke Finnish. Although one of the men could speak that language, this created difficulties for the expedition and had an effect on the results. The motorcycle caused the expedition a lot of trouble and greatly affected how their work was conducted and what knowledge about the past in the Tornedalen district could be produced. After the fieldwork was completed, archival records were made, preserving knowledge about the material culture of the district. These records have been used as a source of knowledge since the early 1920s, and the results of the fieldwork conducted almost 100 years ago still have an impact on our understanding of the past in Tornedalen.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ethnology


  • production of knowledge, fieldwork, district of Tornedalen, cultural regions, language
Original languageSwedish
Pages (from-to)27-53
JournalSvenska landsmål ock svenskt folkliv
Issue number140
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Sep 20
Publication categoryResearch

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Gustavsson, K. (Lecturer)
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