Constructing Reformatory Identity: Girls' Reform School Education in Finland, 1893-1923

Front Cover
Peter Lang, 2009 - History - 345 pages
0 Reviews
By focusing on one particular re-education institution, this book offers a multifaceted analysis of practices of diagnosis and curing what was defined as delinquency , criminality or disorderly behaviour at the turn of the twentieth century. The study provides an important corrective to the existing accounts of re-education by proposing an approach in which institutional practices are analysed both from above and from below. The book draws attention to the process of reforming identities – the construction of reformatory identities – as the core of residential re-education. Special emphasis is placed on the interplay of notions of gender and social background.
The book is based on extensive archival research drawing from a wide range of new and neglected sources. The primary material includes a unique collection of documents produced by the girls of the Vuorela State Reform School in Finland. Narrative analysis of correspondence, and careful scrutiny of the official sources created for re-educational purposes, form a basis for the investigation of the interaction between pupils’ own self-expression and the aims of re-education in the construction of reformed identities. The practices developed in Finland are carefully contextualised in the European history of re-education.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Reform School Education for Girls
Having The Character I Have Theres Nothing You Can
chapter 4
Construction of Reformatory Identity

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2009)

The Author: Kaisa Vehkalahti is a research co-ordinator at the Finnish Youth Research Society. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of Cultural History, University of Turku, Finland. Her research interests include the history of education, childhood and youth studies, and the cultural history of writing. Her research has focused on the history of Finnish re-education, discourses of girls’ delinquency, the history of letter-writing, and the history of Finnish women’s magazines.

Bibliographic information