Modernity on the Periphery: The National Self-Image of the Finns

András Csite

Five papers constitute this thematic section, each highlighting a salient issue in view of Finnish identity. In the introductory essay with personal overtones, András Csite discusses the process in which a Hungarian social scientist tries to get close to the Finns. Jukka Ammondt’s paper is about the Finnish tango. Outside Argentina and several Latin American countries, there are few places in the world where the tango enjoys such popularity as in Finland. At the same time, the emotions and desires in the lyrics, the way of dancing it reveal several Finnish specificities. Leo Granberg’s article focuses on the Finnish small scale producer, discussing the rapid changes that took place in the life of rural land and forest cultivators in the second half of the 20th century. Recalling an “everyday story”, he touches on human tragedies resulting from the confrontation between modernization and personal values due to the rapid transformation. In the next article, Raimo Lovio, Matti Pulkkinen and Teemu Väänänen put the NOKIA company under scrutiny. They outline the changes in the business strategy and organization of the huge enterprise, and analyze the combined effect of chance and planning underlying these changes. The study closing the section is Matti Peltonen’s piece about the identity of the Finns from the latter half of the last century to our days. By describing the permanent and occasionally appearing topoi in the self-image of the Finns (alcohol consumption, barbarous forest, landscape, and language), he argues that the fears and anxieties of the dominant elite are seen by the “Finnish people” as signs of their mental deficits and cultural infancy.

Released: Replika 25, 87–132.