The research project Writing Cultures and Traditions at Borders (WCTB) examines writing practices, texts and amateur and professional writers in the national Finland–Russia and Estonia–Russia borderlands. It aims to give voice to the people whose perceptions of the borders and borderlands often have been neglected within institutionalised and dominant scholarly and artistic discourses. The study focuses on the late 20th century and early 21st century and examines writing practices on the borderlands in their societal and historical contexts. Furthermore, the research aims to recognise the national borderlands as areas home to unique forms of writing cultures.
The study focuses on differing expressions of amateur writing that do not follow conventional forms of scholarly ethnographic writing or institutionalised literature. It reflects critically on accepted forms of ethnographic writing and literature, as well as on ideological discourses that have constructed institutionalised and dominant meanings for the borders and national margins in Finland, Estonia and north-western Russia. In the project, borders are not discussed only as national borders, but also as cultural and institutionalised concepts that are constructed, maintained and deconstructed in writing and in the reception of various texts.
The study applies perspectives from cultural, folklore and literary studies. The project involves researchers from the University of Eastern Finland - Joensuu and the University of Tartu. The project is based at the Karelian Institute, University of Eastern Finland.