Youth wellbeing in “Atomic Towns”: The cases of Polyarnye Zori and Pyhäjoki

Ria-Maria Adams, Lukas Allemann, Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen

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This chapter compares how young people relate to the presence of a nuclear power company as a dominant presence and significant social actor in two northern industrial towns, one in Finland, the other in Russia. In both, Rosatom is building/maintaining the power plant. The entire town of Polyarnye Zori (northwest Russia) was planned and built at the same time as its nuclear power plant, whereas Pyhäjoki (northern Finland) is currently entering a new stage of development with Rosatom building a plant in an existing community. Based on ethnographic fieldwork among teenagers, young adults and professionals dealing with youth issues, it became apparent that in single-industry towns the strong presence of corporate actors and municipal institutions has an influence on youth wellbeing. However, as the policy analysis demonstrates, while in Russia Rosatom significantly shapes social life in the community, the role of the company in Finland is not—and is unlikely to become—as prominent. In both towns, the young generation’s aspirations and expectations revealed dissonances with what municipal policymakers and the corporations offered to them. In a comparative approach, and using the theoretical concepts of hedonic and eudaimonic wellbeing, this research contributes to identifying the wishes and needs of local youth in northern single-industry towns.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationYoung People, Wellbeing and Placemaking in the Arctic
EditorsFlorian Stammler, Reetta Toivanen
Place of PublicationLondon
ISBN (Electronic)9781003110019
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sept 2021
MoEC publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Field of science

  • Social anthropology


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