Collaboration and Dependency: The Modes of Interaction and the Role of Sociocultural Change in the Past (CODE)


PI Adjunct professor Matti Enbuske

Impact of Neolithisation on communities’ interaction networks and interdependencies

- Jari Okkonen (senior researcher, adjunct professor): Peer communities’ interaction and Neolithisation in the Baltic Sea Region

- Samuel Vaneeckhout (postdoc, PhD): House societies and social changes among the Neolithic hunter-gatherers in Ostrobothnia

- Karen Niskanen (doctoral student, MA): Neolithic cliff paintings in Finland as territorial boundaries

Socioeconomic and cultural networks of interaction and interdependence of prehistoric communities

- Jari-Matti Kuusela (postdoc, PhD): Socioeconomic questions of Bronze and Iron Age communities in Northern Finland

- Patrik Franzén (doctoral student, MA): Amber discoveries in Northern Finland

- Ville Hakamäki (doctoral student, MA): Isolated findings from the late Iron Age and interaction between inland and coastal areas in Northern Finland

- Aki Hakonen (doctoral student, MA): Late Neolithic and Early Metal Period local communities on the Bothnian Bay coast

Formation of communities and interactive relationships in the pre-Christian and historical age

- Jouko Vahtola (senior researcher, professor): Häme people’s expansion in mainland Northern Europe during the Viking Age (ca. 800–1150)

- Matti Leiviskä (doctoral student, PhilLic): Settlement of Kyrö parish. Onomastic and historical study of the settlement of Kyrö parish from the Middle Ages to the mid-1600s.

- Matti Enbuske (PI, adjunct professor): Northern communities - Birkarl's and Savonian

- Reija Satokangas (senior reseacher, PhD): Effects of population changes on the community's socioeconomic position: birth rate, migration and immigration in Northern Finland

Wielding of power by communities and formation of ethnicity in the Middle Ages

- Sirpa Aalto (postdoc, PhD): Encounters in the North – Political and cultural changes in the interaction between Scandinavians and Sámi from c. 1200 to c. 1500

- Janne Ikäheimo (senior researcher, PhD): Catholic church and the material culture of the Bothnian Bay coastal parishes in Finland during the Middle Ages

Communities’ religious changes and interdependencies

- Tiina Äikäs (postdoc, PhD): Change and contacts in the Sámi ethnic religion

- Anne Koskamo (doctoral student, MA: Kemi Lapland’s Sámi Christianity in 1599–1809

Economic, administrative and livelihood-related interactive relationships and interdependencies as factors of change in a modernising society

- Matti Salo (senior researcher, adjunct professor): Growth and change in Northern Finland’s industry and service business after World War II

- Kimmo Oikarinen (doctoral student, MA: Kainuu’s crown forest croft settlement from the 1860s to 1922

- Matti Mäntylä (doctoral student, MA): Urho Kekkonen and Northern Finland in 1936–1981

- Niko Hänninen (doctoral student, PhilLic): Transformation of logging and timber procurement in Northern Finland 1945–1975


1. Starting point for the study

The starting point for the CODE group’s study of long-term changes in communities is the transcultural idea that communities do not take shape as independent, isolated units “within their own spheres”, but rather as diverse, continuous interactive relationships with different cultures. The transcultural idea has been applied in research primarily when studying modern societies, but in the CODE group’s project the idea is applied to analysis of communities’ long-term sociocultural changes, using archaeological, historical, anthropological and onomastic methods. The research group’s investigatory starting point is the view that cross-border interdependencies have been social, economic, technological, religious and politically ideological by nature.

The research group’s basic view is that to be functional, individual regionally confined communities must interact and deal with other communities. At the same time these interactions also create interdependencies. The main goal of the CODE group is to study long-term cross-border networks of interaction and interdependencies in communities of the past and to understand their impact mechanisms. Communities are understood as both local populations within small areas and broader societies which have formed their own defined boundaries and institutions.


2. Research subjects

Geographically, the group’s studies are concentrated in the Baltic Sea Region and Scandinavia and their northern areas. The region is especially interesting historically, as it has been populated by vigorous hunter-gatherer communities from the Stone Age long into the historical period, but many forms of agrarian culture have also had an influence since prehistoric times. During the historical period the region’s local communities and societies have undergone several major changes in population, government, economics and livelihoods, where cross-border factors have affected the communities apparently quite significantly. A main part of this research consists of comparing the region under study globally. This comparison will particularly utilise international research cooperation.

One of the group’s main research subjects is the relationship between centre and periphery. In this the networks of interaction and interdependencies have also essentially involved wielding of power, group cohesion, relationships with other population groups, territoriality, group identities and finally, ethnicity. Indeed, an interesting research subject is the question of the formation and definition of the ethnicity of the communities in the Baltic Sea Region and Scandinavia.

Communities’ cross-border networks of interaction, and interdependencies have required a concrete materialistic culture, objects and buildings, but also social institutions. Social institutions are the main link between an archaeological and historical period and anthropological research. Methods of historical research can be used to analyse the social institutions of a historical period, which in this research group are understood as social, economic, livelihood, administrative, ideological and religious structures. They are the basic mechanisms of community functions. A significant research subject in recent history is territoriality and transnational influence, particularly in economics and trade.


3. Primary research questions

Among the research group’s basic questions are: Why and how have interactive relationships and interdependencies been formed over time? A central question is: How have local communities been formed and what kinds of operating models did they acquire in their interactive relationships? Have relationships between communities been mutually equal, and on the other hand, how has their status been defined in centres? Why have some communities become stronger than others? One of the research project’s questions is: How have cross-border contacts and related messages been understood, and what significance were they given in the communities?

The research group’s goals are scientifically innovative. The social and communal impact mechanisms behind material culture have not been applied in the results of Finnish archaeological research, while modern historical research seeks to determine the long-term trends of structural development in communities and societies. In anthropological modelling of communities, there is a scarcity of source research conducted with methods used in the science of history, and therefore little consideration has been given to dimensions of time in cause-and-effect relationships. The objective of the CODE group is focused on the interface between three branches of science where the mechanisms of cross-border sociocultural changes are studied.

The results produced by the researchers in the CODE group will be applied to anthropological models of interaction, so that the interactive relationships and interdependencies of communities of the past can also be explained universally. Indeed, the general goal of the research group is to examine how theoretical models presented in anthropological research can be applied to analyse historical, archaeological and onomastic material when studying interactive relationships, territoriality and interdependencies.

The goal is to examine whether the models are applicable in the time dimension when analysing phenomena from different periods, and also in geographically different regions. In other words, is it possible to use the models which are independent of time and region to find explanations for sociocultural changes in communities?


4. Scientific merits of the researchers

The CODE group consists of altogether 17 researchers in archaeology, history, anthropology and onomastics, of which six are senior researchers, three are distinguished postdoc researchers and eight are doctoral students. They all have also formed networks, linked to their own research theme, with other researchers in the field in Finland and abroad.

The research group includes several established researchers who are specialists in their own research themes. They include research on Neolithic period communities in the Baltic Sea Region, anthropological archaeology, research on Iron Age and Mediaeval communities, historical onomastic research, saga research, research on the history of settlement and populations, history of education and research on Northern Finland’s economic, social and livelihood history.


5. Research environment

The CODE research group is part of the broader multidisciplinary Transcultural Encounters research community. CODE is also a multidisciplinary project of the University of Oulu which also utilises the university’s multifaceted infrastructure, for example in information technology. The CODE group’s researchers also collaborate with the University of Oulu’s other multidisciplinary research groups and are oriented towards creating domestic and international networks.

A significant portion of the CODE group is comprised of eight doctoral students who are at the beginning of their researcher career; they are provided with scientifically competent guidance and possibilities to join networks by the group’s members who have already forged a career in research. A primary goal of the CODE group is to create a scientifically high-quality operating environment for the doctoral students.

The idea of the research work is that the research themes of the doctoral students consist of basic research of the project. The topics are strictly limited and the research work, conducted with the help of specified source material, aims at completing doctoral theses. The research done by the doctoral students reinforces an intellectual base from which the postdoc researchers can apply results in their own research themes in parallel with the basic research. The postdoc researchers also apply multidisciplinary methods, which are also the main tools used by the senior researchers in their own research. The senior researchers are responsible for the application of multidisciplinary methodology in the CODE group’s research objectives. Thus, the doctoral students are also prepared to utilise multidisciplinary methods.


6. Position of the RC

The CODE group is one of the leading researcher groups focused on the history and archaeology of Scandinavia’s northern areas and broader arctic regions. The CODE group is also at the forefront of research on Finland’s early history and one of the strongest research groups studying Northern Finland’s history. The innovative research results already achieved by the researchers are an indication of the group’s scientific position.

The research group will continue to reinforce its collaboration with domestic universities and its formation of international networks. Collaboration is a natural part of the group’s work.

Last updated: 1.6.2015