Passion and Emotion in Finnish Secondary Schools, 1960-1975: The Breaking of the Emotional Regime in the Final Stages of the Secondary School System

Main funder

Funds granted by main funder (€)

  • 79 000,00

Project timetable

Project start date: 01/03/2020

Project end date: 31/05/2022


Student radicalism and movements have been widely researched in various countries, but few studies have thus far focused on the secondary school level. During the 1960s, students around the Western world joined to oppose conservative values in educational institutions and in society at large. This Academy project addresses the topic of school activism head on, focusing on emotional attitudes and memories during the final stages (1960–1975) of the Finnish secondary school system. We analyze and discuss the controversial but surprisingly poorly known history of the Finnish Union of Secondary School Students (FUSSS), which was an acknowledged and influential actor at both the local and national levels.
The overarching goal of the project is to explain the transformation of youth agency and the upheaval of a predominant emotional regime. We aim to: 1) study the history of an influential but now mostly forgotten organization, 2) study the mechanisms behind young people’s social and emotional participation, and 3) apply and further develop theories of the history of emotions and oral history by building on dialogue and collective reconstructions of the past. These questions are addressed by drawing from literature and theories on oral history and the history of emotions. We gather diverse datasets consisting of oral history workshops, written recollections, archival materials, contemporary newspaper articles and photographs. By interpreting transformations in the school environment and student experiences, we also analyze expressions of emotions such as passion, anger and frustration.
The project provides empirical, theoretical and methodological contributions: 1) new information and knowledge on the history of student activism, 2) original data for understanding the impact of emotional changes on societal activities, and 3) methodological reflections on the dialogue and collaboration between researchers and participants in collaborative oral history workshops. Beyond academia, the project takes an active part in advancing better cultures of communication about the topical public debate on young people’s social activism, especially concerning global climate change. A new generation is again at the forefront of social change, and it is already targeted by emotional responses from older generations.

Principal Investigator

Other persons related to this project (JYU)

Contact person (yes/no): Yes

Primary responsible unit

Related publications

Last updated on 2022-06-07 at 12:43