Asutustilallisten metsäsuhde ja metsän merkitys työpaikkana
Forests and the forest industry were very important for the development of economy in Finland in the twentieth century. It was an obvious choice to rely on forests when the losses of the Second World War had to be cured and the building of the welfare state had to be started. Forests were of great importance also to settlement farms. In this article, I ask what meanings the settlement farmers assigned to the forest as a working place, how their relation to nature appears based on these meanings, and how these meanings and modes of working intertwine with identity and agency in narratives. Theoretically it can be stated that people construct and interpret their identities and agency by narrating their life stories. The data consist of settlement farmers’ interviews and autobiographical essays. The meanings that settlement farmers assigned to forest can be summarized as follows: living space, resource, work, money, and recreation. The forest-relation was expressed as utilization, action, economy, and emotion. When settlement farmers defined their life through agency, it strengthened their possibilities of expressing different identities and redefining them in a flexible way. One owns forest because of emotional reasons and because it strengthens one’s identity and promotes a feeling of continuity.