ethnic culture, ethnic identity, Finns, Finnish, immigrants
This study examined whether Finnish immigrants show evidence of assimilation or if they have maintained their ethnic culture in the United States. More specifically, the purpose was to examine how the ethnic culture has been maintained and the ways that ethnic identity manifests itself in their life stories. Ten qualitative, semi-structured interviews were conducted with Finnish immigrants and children of Finnish immigrants, and emerging themes were identified in the data. The results indicate a strong ethnic identity among Finnish immigrants, yet it appears to be a very much taken for granted experience for them. The immigrants' lives were influenced by their ethnicity in that they lived in predominantly Finnish areas, preferred Finnish as their daily language, participated in Finnish activities, especially the Lutheran church, followed customs, and kept regular contact with friends and family in Finland. One of the major differences between the immigrants and children of immigrants was their language use. The norms and policies have been that ethnic groups will assimilate; yet this cohort of Finnish immigrants demonstrates a high level of maintenance of their ancestral culture, thus providing support for Cultural Pluralism. Future studies should address the specific organizations, mainly the Lutheran church, and its influence on the maintenance of Finnish culture, and future studies should address the meaning of language in more detail.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Sciences
Sociology and Anthropology
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Grantham, Minna, "The Maintenance Of Ethnic Culture And Manifestations Of Ethnic Identity In The Life Stories Of Finnish Immigrants" (2005). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 560.