Shovelling snow in Finnish Lapland: Social and aesthetic perspectives on an everyday activity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


For residents of Finnish Lapland, snow frames outdoor and indoor activities during the entire year, both in its presence and in its absence. This article focuses on people’s social and aesthetic perspectives on what is commonly referred to as “snow work”, lumityö. In ethnographic tradition, the aim is to understand “doing living with snow” in contemporary urban society – with snow that falls and, unlike other forms of precipitation, stays around for many months to come, thus creating physical, mouldable obstacles that have mental, social and environmental consequences. The shovelling of snow is considered an important physical activity that allows people to practice their individual expert knowledge and lets them socialise during long annual periods of potential isolation. Hence, apart from its restricting features, snow and ice enhance the meaning of homeowners’ dwelling in the open. In this context, aesthetic and creative concepts are essential where they draw on people’s gardening and artistic skills, and bring satisfaction to those engaging with this mundane and unavoidable activity.
Original languageEnglish
Journal Polar Record : a Journal of Arctic and Antarctic Research
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • snow work
  • Arctic livelihood
  • mundane activity
  • Everyday Aesthetics

Field of science

  • Sociology


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