Looking back to think forward. A project and a research network

Looking Back to Think Forward: Long-term Perspective on Crisis signals and Resilience building (Think Forward) – Menneisyys tulevan tukena: Pitkän aikavälin näkökulma kriisin merkkeihin ja kriisinkestävyyteen

The past is marked by crisis – disruptions of a system, whether political, economic or environmental, challenging the existing equilibrium. Change is triggered by an external shock that is often considered sudden or unexpected, shaking the resilience of the society or a community. Most often, however, there have been at least weak signals that have been left unnoticed.

In the Nordic Countries in general and in Finland especially, crisis preparedness has always been critical. The roots of Finnish national crisis preparedness can be traced past Finland’s independence, to its joint history with the Russian Empire and the Swedish Realm, and the basics have stayed the same for three hundred years. The security of supply, for example, has always been a combination of state-controlled reserves and cooperation with the private sector to encourage voluntary storing.

During the early modern centuries, the European states were primarily concerned with procuring and storing supplies for their armies. Furthermore, in most countries, both the maintenance of armies and the attempts to organize emergency supply for civilians were outsourced to merchants and other private entrepreneurs In Europe’s Nordic periphery, where winters were harsh, distances were long, population was scarce, and merchants had small resources, complete outsourcing of military and civilian supply was an impossibility, and government-regulated public granaries were a necessity.

Think Forward studies the ways in which the resilience of the present day society is connected to the past, highlighting the need to understand the processes that have enhanced confidence or that have failed to do so. The history of Northern crisis preparedness and security of supply is a theme with both national importance and connections to current international debates in the field of history, but which we know scarcely little about. The aim of this project is to offer new, comprehensive, and state-of-the-art research on the subject. We welcome new members and initiatives related to the topic – from the point of view of resilience, preparedness, maintenance, private life, diplomacy, security, &c.

The first plans for the project have been jointly drafted in several application processes in the year 2020-2021. This summary is based on the joint work of Associate Professor Anu Lahtinen, Dr. Juha-Matti Granqvist and Dr. Sampsa Hatakka. For more information, please contact Anu Lahtinen https://researchportal.helsinki.fi/fi/persons/anu-lahtinen

Other Think Forward contributions: https://tinyurl.com/ThnkFwd

See even the book launch of Civilians and Military Supply in Early Modern Finland (eds. Petri Talvitie, Juha-Matti Granqvist), https://blogs.helsinki.fi/historia/2021/11/29/tutkimustiistai-zoom-30-11-klo-15-00-17-00/