23.10.2017

Miika Tervonen: Nationalism, diversity and media. How nation-building created a myth of a homogeneous Finland

Mass media and nationalism have been – and remain – intimately interlinked. The presentation explores ways in which commercial mass media has contributed to a rise of a reductive ‘national gaze’ in the case of Finland. From late 19th century onwards, diversity and mobility have been marginalized in Finnish media narratives, reinforcing a myth of culturally homogeneous Finland. Paradoxically, however, the idea of an exclusively defined nation also produced constant debates on the boundaries between ‘us’ and ‘them’, and recurring media frenzies  around various problematized ‘others’, such as Jewish migrants or the Roma minority. From this historical background point, the presentation points to continuing biases and memory gaps in today’s Finnish media landscapes, and poses questions about the relationship between new forms of media and resurgent ethnonationalism.