Social resilience in practice: insights from Finnish Lapland

Monica Tennberg, Terhi Vuojala-Magga, Joonas Vola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


National debate and planning for major structural reforms of the Finnish welfare state have been ongoing for years. The most recent government plans include ideas to centralize basic services in major population centres and transfer the responsibility of organization from municipalities to new “health and social services counties”. Such reforms may have considerable consequences for low-income, vulnerable households and their resilience in sparsely populated Lapland. Knowledge about experiences of poverty and the ways in which vulnerable, low-income households tackle economic hardships in Finnish Lapland is scarce.

To address this knowledge gap, we studied everyday practices of resilience among low-income, vulnerable households in Lapland as part of a Europe-wide study in nine countries from 2013 to 2017. The results of interviews with experts in local services (10) and households (24) in two locations in Lapland suggest that households rely on a close network of relatives and friends for the distribution of scarce resources and an exchange of skills in addition to a local support network consisting of municipal and non-governmental actors. These practices highlight the local, social, and collective nature of resilience among low-income households in contrast to the individualistic, heroic, and neoliberal understandings of resilience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-109
JournalActa Borealia : a Nordic journal of circumpolar societies
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2020
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Finland
  • household
  • Lapland
  • poverty
  • practice theory
  • social resilience
  • welfare state

Field of science

  • Political science


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