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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 221604 Find in a Library
Title: Historical Origins of a Cross-National Puzzle: Homicide in Finland, 1750 to 2000
Journal: Homicide Studies  Volume:12  Issue:1  Dated:February 2008  Pages:67-89
Author(s): Jukka Savolainen; Martti Lehti; Janne Kivivuori
Date Published: February 2008
Page Count: 23
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined the historical origins of lethal violence in Finland.
Abstract: Findings suggest that the Finnish welfare state inadvertently sustains a subculture of alcohol-related lethal violence. Homicide patterns in Finland are of relatively recent origin. Finnish rates of lethal violence started to diverge from the Western European levels during the 19th century. The first half of the 20th century is characterized by three homicide waves, each of which occurred in the context of a geopolitical crisis associated with the two Russian revolutions (1905 and 1917). During the economic transformation of the postwar period, homicide in Finland increased involving an ever growing marginalized segment of the population, in terms of both offenders and victims. Finland differs from similar nations by featuring a high incident of lethal violence among chronically unemployed middle-aged men, many of whom live in semirural areas. There is nothing exceptional about the Finnish homicide rate outside this narrow sociodemographic context; felony homicides occur at the same rate in Finland as in other Nordic nations. The Finnish level of homicides by young males is lower than in the Netherlands, whereas the homicide mortality of Finnish men at ages 40 to 64 is at the same high level as in the United States. The problem appears associated with a welfare regime focused on preventing youth unemployment. Although a large segment of the older male population is excluded from the job market, the growth of the Finnish welfare state represents an inclusionary project that has buffered the marginal male from poverty, homelessness, and poor health. The relatively low rates of felony homicide and robberies in Finland demonstrate that this population does not kill for material gain. Instead, with a guaranteed income and subsidized housing, recipients spend much of their time getting drunk in private dwellings, with friends and peers, and outside public supervision which results in violent disputes. Table, figures, notes, references
Main Term(s): Alcohol abuse; Alcohol consumption analysis; Alcohol-crime relationship; Alcohol-Related Offenses; Finland; Homicide causes; Homicide trends
Index Term(s): Crime in foreign countries; Criminal history exchanges; Victims in foreign countries; Violence causes
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