Browsing by Organization "Alkoholitutkimussäätiö"

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  • Kaartinen, Aija (Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 2012)
    It is often maintained that the Prohibition Act (in force from 1 June 1919 to 5 April 1932) still influences both the Finnish alcohol policy and notions about alcohol. This study focuses on the development of women s opinions concerning Prohibition in Finland. What role did the formulation and expression of women s opinions and women's actions play in the final outcome of the Prohibition Act? What do the debate on Prohibition and women s activities for and against the legislation tell us about the status and possibilities of women to exert influence in the Finnish society of the Prohibition era? Women s opinions are particularly interesting since they deviated radically from what has generally been assumed. It was expected that the referendum of 1931 would result in a resounding vote of 100% in favour of Prohibition, but the outcome was a majority vote against it. Over 65% of the women who cast their vote in the referendum wanted a full repeal of Prohibition. The study approaches the history of Prohibition by combining methods and theories of the history of mentalities and social history with gender history. Women are examined as a heterogeneous group with dissimilar objectives and differing ways of acting and thinking. The research material consists of press materials, archival materials from organisations, personal materials and statistics from the Prohibition period. Both discourses and practices are examined; the object of the research is best described by Michel Foucault's concept of dispositif. When participating in the public debate on Prohibition, women based their right to express their opinions and take part in action on an ideological continuum spanning a hundred years, according to which home and family were central areas of women s interest. This idea was linked to questions of morality and social policy. On the other hand, women presented themselves as working taxpayers, voters and equal citizens. The most crucial issue in women's discussions was whether Prohibition improved or worsened the temperance of fathers, husbands and sons. The dichotomies town dweller - countryside dweller, Swedish-speaking Finnish-speaking, and middle class - working class were highly significant backgrounds both as factors dividing women and in public discussions regarding Prohibition. The 1931 referendum showed that the lines of demarcation drawn during the preceding debate did not materialise in political action in line with these dichotomies: the dispositif did not correspond to the discourse. Contrary to what was expressed in public, a great number of women among the labour and rural classes, among inland inhabitants and among Finnish-speakers were also against Prohibition. The media and organisations defended temperance and Prohibition almost until the end of the Prohibition era. This discourse was in conflict with the discourse of everyday conversations and practices in which alcohol was present.