Estonian National Identity and Natural Environment – How is Communicated and Employed in Estonian Film?

24 May

Scene from Kiisk's 'Nipernaadi'

An investigation into the use of natural environment in several Estonian feature films, and how it ties into concepts of national identity. Originally written April 2011.

Introduction

 

 

Despite having a population of less than two million, Estonians have fostered a vibrant and diverse cinema culture encompassing multiple techniques and remits. From the first feature film shot in 1914, Estonian national film has survived throughout the years of independence from Russia, re-occupation by both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, and the emerging post-communist freedoms of national sovereignty in 1991. The wide range of subjects which have been covered during this span reflects national experiences, collective memory, and Estonian cultural tradition in its many shapes and forms.  Although not enjoying the same international success as other former Soviet-occupied or satellite states, the years following 1991 have seen a rise in export, with several notable films garnering prizes on the international film circuit. One recent film that has been praised is Veiko Õunpuu’s The Temptation of St. Tony (Püha Tõnu kiusamine, 2009).

A persistent theme that emerges within this national film movement is one which deals strongly with the subject of identity, in various guises. This of course has historical connotations due to many decades where there was a distinct lack of self-determination. By enforcing a unique cultural and national identity on screen, directors and auteurs were able to not only subvert authority during times of occupation, but also to communicate strong ideas in the post-communist context.

One exploration that has often been visually overt is that of the natural environment and space, and it is this factor that this report is concerned with.

Areas of Examination and Questions for Consideration

 

The intention of this investigation is to look at ideas of nature and national identity through several angles, via the medium of Estonian film. In order to assess the role of nature in the Estonian consciousness, it is necessary to examine why it plays such an important role, and what it suggests to the people of Estonia. Therefore, a historical and ethnological examination will take place using available academic sources and literature in English translation. Once this has been established, a comprehensive analysis of several films will identify depictions of the natural environment,  and then will move to discuss both how it manifests itself on screen and what it intends to communicate.

It will be argued that ideas of national environment are deeply rooted and associated with the idea of homeland for Estonian people, and that the manifestation of this in folk culture has carried through to the present day. As such, cinema has to an extent taken over more traditional formats to become an artform itself, continuing the practice of entrenching Estonian identity through the use of nature. In addition, natural surroundings have also served the use of enforcing points the auteur wishes to make concerning societal make-up and in some situations political issues.

 

Rationale and Justifications

 

There are several clear reasons as to why such an investigation is necessary. Firstly, it allows for a clear understanding of a topic which experiences a lack of coverage in English language academia. Baltic cinema has unfortunately never received the coverage that other Central and Eastern European states have had (Russia and Poland are two such examples of this) and as such there is an absence of qualitative sources into the study of it. By completing this study a small part of this void will hopefully be filled, and in turn encourage interest into further projects within the remit of Baltic film.  In addition, it provides a template for a more wide-scale thesis or report into Estonian cinema, or indeed identity studies within the cinemas of Latvia and Lithuania.

Concerns

 

As with any investigation of this magnitude and scope, there are concerns which may affect the outcome of the work. The most pressing of these concerns is that of sourcing, namely the insufficient number of English language sources pertaining to Estonian culture and identity. In order to overcome this obstacle, online sources will also be employed, particularly ones which are based on cinema and film review. This in itself leads to the problem of verification – to what extent these sources are valuable and whether or not they are legitimate. However, this can be countered by a critical analysis of the content; although this does not remove the problem entirely. Overall, the concerns here do not necessarily impact on the strength of this investigation as being a piece which can be developed and replicated into either a full-length thesis or replicable research paper.

The Role of the Environment in Estonian Culture

 

 

The importance of environment and natural surroundings, in its most basic understanding, can be seen through the geographical make-up of Estonia; revealing the role it has had to play in the lives of many generations of the land’s populous. A country of 17,500 square miles, Estonia is the smallest of the Baltic States, with half of its land covered by forests and another fifth by marshes and peat bogs. There are also thousands of lakes, the largest being Lake Peipsi to the East of the country; and many miles of coastline looking out onto the Baltic sea, the Gulf of Riga and Gulf of Finland.

It is from this dominating environment that people have survived for thousands of years, and which has helped shape a strong Estonian culture. Forests were important sources of fuel and building material, as well as food. However, the common depiction of Estonians as peoples of the forest may be exaggerated. On this point Jürgenson comments that:

The picture of Estonians as forest people is largely ethnic-romantic and as such, relatively similar to the same kind of clichés of other Eastern-European peoples. Let us think of the fact that actually, Estonians have been growing plants on the fields for more than 3000 years. No doubt, the forest, at one time, used to be the main environment of subsistence for the ancestors of Estonians, however, during the last centuries, the Estonian consciousness has primarily been that of a land-cultivator. (in Runnel and Vallikivi (eds) 2004:99)

Indeed, historically much of the Estonian population resided in rural villages or communities with adjacent farms; and farmland has been heavily featured in traditional rahvalaul, or folk songs, which “served as assistants at work, supporting the rhythm and alleviating the toil” (Viires 2004:185). However, the farm and the forest in cultivating identities do not have to be mutually exclusive. The fact that woodland takes up so much of the land inevitably turns it into a national symbol over time, and one which can be related to by the population. The agricultural nature of Estonians traditionally does not omit the image of the forest, as it is a defining feature in many areas. Rather, “The role of the natural environment in shaping attitudes of the people was also of great importance. The whole life proceeded in an environment of surrounding fields, hayfields and pastures, woods, bogs and bodies of water” (Viires 2004:221). It is these images that have stuck in the mindset and developed the contemporary Estonian attitude towards nature.

This can be witnessed in the struggle for independence from the Soviet Union, and emerging debates in the new free Estonian society. By emphasising the nature of their homeland, Estonians were relying on the symbolism and imagery created through the first Republic, and thus setting it aside from that of the occupier force. The movement for independence in the final years of occupation “placed considerable emphasis on the country’s rural heritage” in order to advance this idea, particularly during the environmental protests of 1987 which set out to contrast the country with an “opposition to what was seen as Soviet, and more specifically Russian, despoliation of the state’s ‘natural’ environment” (Unwin, in Pickles and Smith (eds) 1998:297). Thus, ideas about identity were strengthened beyond merely geographical terrain in that the forests and lakes now carried a political dimension of opposition to authoritarianism.

When referring to cinema and the environment, it can be seen that this is an extension of Estonian cultural art, albeit with a contemporary mode of expression. Despite the relatively small size and population, distinct regional cultures have emerged: not only in the way people lived and worked, but also in song and dance; and ultimately, the surroundings they found themselves in. The use of choral refrains for instance, was something incorporated into southern Estonian folk song, yet something unrecognised in the north. In the same way, depictions of environments in films are perhaps a reflection on the director and their own backgrounds. One example is that of Kiisk, born in north-eastern region, whose 1983 film Nipernaadi bases itself in the farmland of the area (Nipernaadi will be analysed later in this report). It is undeniable that cinema has become part of a cultural framework in many countries and thus “when talking about culture, we cannot evade the concepts of territory, place, landscape, environment” (Jürgenson 2004:101).

To summarise, the importance of the natural environment is one which has been developed through several avenues. The strong folk culture forged in Estonia often reflected the experience of those who crafted it, and inevitably this paid attention to their surroundings. Thus images of farmland and forest are ones which have stayed throughout the years and become established as symbols of Estonian life. Such symbols were strengthened in the national psyche by the linking to the political independence struggle, and therefore acquired a new sphere of relevance. Finally, in many ways as an art form cinema has become a new method of artistic communication, with environments again featuring as part of a continuation of traditional Estonian custom.

Kiisk’s Nipernaadi and Estonian Farmland

 

 

In over fifty years of active directing, producing and acting in films, the late Kaljo Kiisk established himself as one of the most popular and important minds in Estonian cinema. Although Russian-trained, his films have consistently exhibited a unique Estonian feel, and one such example of this is 1983’s Nipernaadi (translated as Happy Go Lucky, The Wanderer or The Adventurer in English). The film tells the story of Toomas Nipernaadi, a man of wonderfully persuading charm and language, and his time in the countryside in the northern parts of the country. Through his travelling he meets numerous women who he professes his love for, before mysteriously moving on from one farm or village to the next; manipulating crofters and farmers in order to stay with them. It is based on a novel originally written by August Gailit, yet undertaken in Kiisk’s own style, highlighting “the genuine vitality of the literary work and the artistic charm of the director’s vision” (Kulli 2008:10).

The opening shots of Nipernaadi set the tone and surroundings for the film: the introductory titles are shot over a background of a blue, clouded sky, before moving to shots of the open fields where most of the feature takes place. From this beginning the viewer interprets this as a feeling of space and openness, unstifled by any industrial or urban centres. This feeling continues throughout, with the camera focusing on the winding country roads and the forests dotted around. Kiisk’s choice for Nipernaadi, ably acted by Tõnu Kark, to wear white is excellent here: there is no dark contrast which directs attention away from the scenery, rather it is complimentary and enforces ideas that the protagonist is at one with nature. Nipernaadi enforces this through the film’s dialogue. It becomes evident that the protagonist has a compulsion to make up stories about himself and others and to use wild exaggeration, yet this is very effective in reflecting on the omnipresence of nature throughout. One such example comes from one of his tales by the lakeside, where he appears to be speaking about himself:

He speaks about his land, its forests and meadows, its light nights, hot days; the foaming waterfalls of its streams, and the mystery of its bogs…I want none of your riches, for I am a thousand times richer than you. I have swaying woods in the north, wild geese flying over them, honking. I have fields, and when the wind caresses the golden ears of corn, it feels as if it were the seas swelling. (Nipernaadi 1983)

What this suggests is that the natural environment is intertwined with the personal, and that Nipernaadi’s identity is very much reflected in his surroundings. In this way Kiisk is arguing that nature is an important part of what makes Estonian people who they are.

By the film’s conclusion, the viewer witnesses a twist which answers many questions as to who the protagonist really is. While staying on the coast, Nipernaadi’s real wife turns up, and explains that he is actually a writer (presumably residing in some urban centre such as Tallinn or Tartu). Every year her husband disappears in the spring to wander the countryside and returns once the snow has fallen. This heavily romanticised outcome adds another interesting dimension to explain why the environment is so important to the Estonian consciousness. Even today most families have, or rent, isolated cottages in which to escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life, and this form of escapism and reconnecting with nature is enforced here. In short, the intentions of Nipernaadi speak to a desire that many Estonian people hold. When the couple leave to return home, for the first time the viewer witnesses Toomas dressed only in black: a symbolic break from his connection with the outdoors for another year.

It can also be argued that this enforcing of Estonian mentality also serves as one of subverting the Soviet sphere of influence. It has been noted that “like art in general, Estonian film, too, was focused on the issue of national identity. Maintaining national characteristic features acted as an indirect opposition to Soviet ideology which, at least in rhetoric, identified people through class and worldwide mission” (Funk 2000, http://www.estonica.org/en/Culture/Film/Feature_film/, accessed 9/4/2011). Thus Estonian nature, a defining characteristic, is also employed as a means of resistance and opposition to occupation, driving through the concept of a unique and independent Estonia. Such criticism, even in the more liberalised 1980s, could not be overt, and this resulted in filmmakers, including Kiisk, creating “a coded language of images; and experienced viewer would be able to decipher the images, but the censors’ scissors would overlook their significance” (http://www.filmbirth.com/estonia.html, accessed 9/4/2011).

Therefore, Kiisk’s Nipernaadi serves an important role linking national cinema with the national consciousness of the population. While placing emphasis on the beauty of natural surroundings, the director focuses on the unique identity of Estonia politically, setting it aside from the rest of the Soviet Union; but also makes the point that nature plays a crucial part in the make-up of identities of Estonian people. The main character speaks to the audience on multiple levels, most importantly the desire for time to discover oneself while immersed in the rural environment. It is a strong message which is skilfully delivered by the director and enables Nipernaadi to still carry relevance today.

Meeletu

 

Although coming from a theatre background, director Elmo Nüganen has been responsible for two features which have been very well received in the national context. His 2002 film Names on a Marble Board (Nimed marmortahvlil) generated one of the largest Estonian audiences for a home production, and this was followed up by Mindless (Meeletu) in 2006, which has been described as “an emotional artistic project, which best conveys his style for what he is praised and awarded as a theatre director” (http://www.estonia.gov.uk/news_events/news/aid-936, accessed 10/4/2011). In a simple but touching storyline, Toomas, an executive for a successful telecommunications company in Tallinn, becomes frustrated with the busy city life and retreats to a lakeside cottage in the countryside. While there, he finds that villagers keep asking him different questions, on subjects such as life and love. Buoyed by this popularity, he attempts to start his own religion which is built on ideas of nature being powerful. At the same time, Toomas’ colleagues and family become estranged from him and do not fit into his new lifestyle and ideas. Upon returning to the city, deflated (realising that the villagers were only interested in him because of his money) he discovers he is able to control the weather as he claims. Meeletu is yet another Estonian film which takes advantage of the country’s natural scenery to help develop its points.

Upon examination of the film it is perhaps unsurprising that it became so popular. Very much like Kiisk, Nüganen has been able to tap into the desires of many Estonians to spend time away from the cities and to engage more with the rich resources outside it. Not only does Toomas become the carrier for such ideas, by taking a year away from a world of mobile phones and computers, but the director has been able to draw a clear contrast between urban and provincial life – a contrast which arguably speaks to many people. Footage of the cityscape, the office, and most importantly the nightclub scenes at the beginning of the film, all use various techniques to make a point: the close shots suggesting cramped space, coupled with background noise which will later be the antithesis of the birdsongs and gentle wind of Toomas’ new lakeside cottage. Moreover, for a protagonist who states that “I had always thought that a little bit more and then I will start living my own life…I just rush through my life and then it is over” his work in fixing up the cottage and trying to find religion makes clear that the countryside gives him a sense of purpose; more so than his former life in business. As the camera changes swiftly from the city skyline to the natural environment, so do the priorities of the protagonist.

Differentials between natural and artificial are multi-layered, in fact. Although it has been argued that Meeletu is “rich in clichés and lacking in content” (http://www.profimeedia.ee/upload/docs/efs-filmiraamat-osa.pdf, 37, accessed 10/4/2010), there are several instances which are very effective in communicating the director’s point. Shots with Toomas sitting in the trees represent his newly-acquired connection with nature, whereas his money is associated by the village people as being a hallmark of someone who resides in the city – in other words, money means nothing to the environment itself. From this, Nüganen enforces the beauty and simplicity of living amongst nature, and that happiness can be found here. This is a cultural motif that harks back to the times of rising Estonian nationalism, with epic poems and art of the time using “prevailing imagery referring to the natural and historical environment. Here, homeland can be defined by way of nature” (Jürgenson 2004:107). The use of money as a dividing factor plays into the historical context of post-communist Estonia and the rising profit motive. As the neighbour says to the protagonist, “It is interesting to hear what a rich man has to say”.

The success of Meeletu, and indeed other films that communicate similar ideas, can more often than not be directly equated with a message which speaks to its audience – and in the Estonian context, this is related to their desires and own identity politics. As has been shown previously, because the environment has such a large part to play in the development of what it means to be Estonian, Nüganen’s feature is very much an Estonian film for an audience which understands, and in some ways desire, for the life that is portrayed.  The film is also important to look at from a historical perspective, as what it enforces is the extent that old ideas equating homeland with the environment in creating identity has permeated both centuries and political changes; as well as the art form in which it entrenches itself. Film now places itself amongst poetry and folk song in developing cultural themes in the contemporary period, and Meeletu shows how strong this can be.

The Films of Veiko Õunpuu and Explorations of Solitude

 

 

One of the rising talents of modern Estonian cinema, Veiko Õunpuu, is a director that can be credited with exporting film out of the national boundary, and to great acclaim. Having released three films in his brief career, Õunpuu has already amassed prizes on the international circuit, and has done so with a unique style that blends psychological aspects with black comedy to interesting effect. His first two features, 2006’s Empty (Tühirand) and 2007’s Autumn Ball (Sügisball) both feature contrasting settings which deal with the environment, and an interesting continuation in cast members and storylines. Both films are based on novels by the writer Mati Unt.

Tühirand, a forty-three minute short, tells the tale of a love triangle between Mati, the academic male protagonist, his wife, affair interest and brother. It is one which explores ideas surrounding relationship struggles, and its provincial setting is intended to develop these themes. Although it can be said that the film’s concept is one that has been covered before, Tomberg points out that “repetition and over-coding reveal to the viewer a grotesque and sad loneliness” (2007:23). In the duration filming takes place in the forest, with colouring and shot style bringing out the natural beauty and density of the woodland; and the beach with its long, sweeping landscape. As has been argued earlier, these surroundings evoke a sense of isolation, which has often been portrayed as a desirable attribute in the likes of Meeletu. However, Tühirand uses this symbol for a different purpose entirely, namely the ironic differential between the personal feeling of being alone and the physical aloneness which a person might feel in the setting; and a desire for this which none of the characters can actually cope with. Again Tomberg argues this point in why the film is multi-layered, stating that “Existentially they thus remain, or choose to remain, on their own in the reality of a game, although solitude is exactly what is impossible to endure” (2007:23). One of the most striking scenes sees Mati, played by Rain Tolk, waist deep in the water, by himself: creating a desolate and thought-provoking image reflecting this internal crisis.

Whereas Õunpuu’s debut envelopes itself in the rustic surroundings of coastal and forest-laden country, his sequel, Sügisball, immerses itself in quite the opposite. The beaches and forests have been traded in this instance with Soviet-era apartment blocks and housing schemes, yet the main theme is the same: that of isolation. Mati remains one of the integral characters here, and he is joined by a host of other protagonists in a feature that follows the lives of several people and their residence in one of the towers. Alongside Mati, who has now been left by his wife, the viewer encounters architect Maurer and his partner, single parent Laura, Finnish barber August, and cloakroom attendant Theo. The one thing the protagonists all have in common is the shared experience of loneliness.

This image is created, again like Tühirand, by a dualism between style and setting. Outside of the environmental aspect, it is interesting to recognise that the “understated stories of quiet desperation only occasionally overlap, instead sitting side by side, the emotional resonances playing off each other” (Dawson 2009, http://www.filmmakermagazine.com/news/2009/06/veiko-ounpuu-sugisball/, accessed 10/4/2011). Despite residing only a few metres away from each other, the characters lead separate lives entirely, emphasising their separation from others and the community. The sheer size of the city, in particular the housing scheme which is shown in wide-shots and landscapes, communicates how deep feelings of solitude go: that is to say, that despite the concentrated population and vastness of the urban environment, there is no connection with it or its people. Artificial divisions are also communicated through aspects of the dialogue, and this reflects on the setting. The scoffing reply Maurer receives at a party of artists and members of the ‘intelligentsia’ on his choice of living in his apartment indicates the class divide which exists in present-day Estonia, and arguably this can be interpreted as being indicative of city life compared with that of the country. Nature itself knows no class, but living areas and districts of the capital appear to. Overall scenery here provides the perfect setting to a complex drama on a subject that has been rarely covered in post-Soviet cinema.

The director’s strength in the choice of scenery and environment is that it is an altogether different approach from what is becoming a quasi-pattern of Estonian film. Instead of playing on romanticised attitudes of the countryside, and the placing of two different settings in competition with each other, Õunpuu employs depictions of environments to draw out individual concepts of isolation to a greater level than communication and dialogue can. His highly stylised films use a multi-faceted approach in speaking to the viewer, subverting their attitudes in a way which turns conventional attitudes to nature in the opposite way. The result, which can be witnessed in the two pictures examined here, is extremely effective.

Short Films at Home and Abroad: Musting and Toom

 

 

Two fascinating short films from Estonian directors also highlight in different ways the importance of the environment in constructing national identities. Both are based in a contemporary age and environment and have the natural surroundings at the forefront. The films in question are Paradise for Old Men (Vanameeste paradiis, Ove Musting 2005) and Tanel Toom’s The Confession (2010). What makes these two pieces striking is they are set in vastly differing contexts: as expected, Musting’s feature bases itself in rural Estonia and effectively captures the beauty of rurality; however The Confession is a British production with English actors, reflecting Toom’s studies at the National Film and Television School in London.

Vanameeste paradiis tells the story of two elderly city officials and their retirement from the Environmental Office, and their experiences in the rural villages. During this time they struggle to shed their former past (fighting against what they perceive as illegal fishing) rather than enjoying life. Like with many other films that have been explored in this project, nature and surroundings are overt and impressive, and plays a vital role in the storyline. What is fascinating is that the environment also acts as symbolism here. For instance, a bus full of drunken city dwellers, representing urbanisation of Estonia, winds its way down the rough country roads, until a series of driving mishaps causes it to veer off-track and into a river. Rather than float to the surface, or result in a tragic accident, the river merely swallows the vehicle up and it disappears. This is a suggestive symbol reflecting not only nature’s omnipresence, but also its ability to stave off threats of mass urbanisation and environmental damage.

Similarly, the old men are placed in direct conflict with nature, in a way that directors such as Kiisk employed in their subversion of the Soviet system. The bureaucratic language on show, “we will ask the questions”, at times reflecting the language of Soviet state institutions, couples with unsettling music to create and air of paranoia. However, nature again shows its resilience and ability to deal with such matters – when the men end up overboard and underwater. In this way the director suggests that the environment operates in its own set of laws, indicative of nature as a symbol of opposition to the occupation in the years before Estonian independence.

Despite being a British production by an Estonian director, Tanel Toom’s The Confession, the first Estonian film ever to be nominated for an Academy Award, also betrays an Estonian attitude to nature in the style witnessed. The storyline deals with two young boys who attend a Catholic school, and the events which lead up to their first Confession. This takes multiple dramatic turns, including a car-crash tragedy and one of the boys, Jacob, being killed. Although being one of only several films made by Toom, a pattern has emerged reflecting the director’s love “to impact the audience, whether with fear, laughter or bittersweet pain” (http://www.nftsfilmtv.ac.uk/index.php?module=People&people_id=1136&film=381, accessed 9/4/2011).

While basing itself in psychological drama, the use of environment is employed to full effect. The long shots and panned camera is used to capture the English countryside’s beauty, but also danger, and this image is used alongside bold use of coloursin order to set the tone. Use of blues and greys reflect the sinister undercurrent that the main protagonist, Sam, feels at home and while alone, yet this is contrasted with the bright greens and yellows of the fields. It is unsurprising that as an Estonian, Toom has inserted a critical aspect of Estonian identity into his short film here, as it enforces that this identity is not just found by Estonians living in their homeland. As Jürgenson has argued, the Estonian diaspora has “lived an Estonian life, stood for the Estonian thing, participated in Estonianism, although abroad” (2004:110).

The deep-seated identification with natural terrain, therefore, is something which is multi-faceted and developed in numerous ways by Estonian film directors. Whereas Musting has highlighted that environments can be used as symbolism in film to develop a certain line of argument, Toom’s work reflects that Estonian cultural pillars are not simply confined to their national borders. Again this demonstrates how widely differing situations can still feature aspects of a culture on screen, and the extent that surroundings are recurring themes in this national cinema tradition.

Conclusions

 

 

From this investigation, it has become apparent that a number of patterns have emerged, as well as concrete answers to questions surrounding the issues of national identity in Estonia. As concepts of homeland have often been cultivated, in folk and peasant culture, at a time where much of the populous resided in small farms or villages in the countryside, natural environment and scenery contributed much to collective experiences and regional characteristics which forged what people saw as their identity. Over the years, this grew to reflect all of Estonia, as much of the country itself can be seen as unique in its mixture of forest, lake and marshlands. The strength of this image has carried on to even the most recent months and years, thanks to a strong tradition of folk art which has been reclaimed in the current context by cinematic works. Thus Estonian film has featured settings in provincial and rural locations for the reason that it speaks to the audience and their understanding of what makes them who they are; and to the director or auteur who shares similar feelings.

Kiisk and Nüganen, for instance, have created films with the theme of escapism and engagement with nature, and have done so through the portrayal of nature on-screen coupled with the storyline and dialogue. The popularity of the films examined in this report can be attributed to the audience’s ability to relate to the idea of isolation and getting away in order to rediscover oneself. However, as Toom has shown, the importance of nature to Estonians is not one which merely thrives in the national borders alone, which is why his recent piece The Confession has characteristics typical of the films which have been examined; indicating a trend which may run through most of the active years of Estonian filmmaking. Numerous directors have not only used the backdrop of the countryside to reinforce points either. As has been seen, Nüganen makes use of Tallinn as a contrast with his own pictures of serenity, as has Musting’s busy bus which symbolises urban life in Vanameeste paradiis. Veiko Õunpuu’s novel variation on this is to place the environment in a role which deliberately brings out the personal conflicts in his film’s subjects, deviating from the attitudes of positive isolationism and escapism which has been focused on in Meeletu and Nipernaadi. Nevertheless, in order to make such a tactic work there is a certain reliance of understanding what the natural environment means to Estonians, and therefore reflects on how crucial this concept is to the Estonian nation and the identification that its population has with the country.

Bibliography

 

Books (Authored)

 

  • Viires, A. (2004) Old Estonian Folk Life, Tallinn: Ilo Publishing House

 

Books (Edited)

 

  • Jürgenson, A. (2004) “On the Formation of the Estonian Concepts of Homeland and Home Place”, in Runnel and Vallikivi (eds) Pro Ethnologia 18 – Culture and Environments, Tartu: Eesti Rahva Muuseum  pp.97-114
  • Unwin, T. (1998) “Rurality and the Construction of Nation in Estonia”, in Pickles and Smith (eds) Theorising Transition – The Political Economy of Post-Communist Transformations, London; New York: Routlege pp.284-308

 

Journal Articles

 

  • Kulli, J. (2008) “Kaljo Kiisk – With a Madly Lucky Fate”, Estonian Culture, 2008(1) pp.4-11
  • Tomberg, D. (2007) “Empty”, Estonian Culture 2007(1) pp.22-24

 

Online Articles

 

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