Elina Westinen

'New' Ethnicities, (Dis)identification and Belonging
in Finnish Hip Hop Culture

In my ongoing postdoctoral research, I explore the multisemiotic construction of 'new' ethnicities and belonging in Finnish hip hop culture in both virtual and physical settings. More specifically, I investigate a) rap artists of immigrant background, b) young rap fans of immigrant background and c) the media representations of rap artists with an immigrant background.

My doctoral dissertation (Westinen 2014) explored how Finnish rap artists construct their authenticity through their linguistic and discursive repertoires, on several scale-levels (spatio-temporal frames) and orienting towards various centers of norms. Theoretically and methodologically, I drew on insights from sociolinguistics (of globalization), discourse studies and ethnography. My study related to research on translocal and local hip hop cultures as well as on authenticity as socially, linguistically and discursively constructed. The data included contemporary rap lyrics by three Finnish rap artists, Cheek, Pyhimys and Stepa. These artists were selected as they illustrate the diversity of Finnish hip hop culture in terms of their genre, themes, geography and years of experience in the hip hop scene. In addition, to gain more detailed, emic information on and insights into questions of language use(s), discursive resources and authenticity I conducted theme interviews with the artists.

I am also the chair of the research network Hip-hop Suomessa: suuntaukset ja sukupolvet (Hip hop in Finland: genres and generations).



  • Kytölä, S. & E. Westinen 2015. “I be da reel gansta”. A Finnish footballer’s Twitter writing and metapragmatic evaluations of authenticity. Discourse, Context and Media 8, 6-19.
  • Blommaert, J., E. Westinen & S. Leppänen 2015. Further notes on sociolinguistic scales. Intercultural Pragmatics 12(1), 119–127.
  • Westinen, E. 2014. The Discursive Construction of Authenticity: Resources, Scales and Polycentricity in Finnish Hip Hop Culture. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-5728-5
  • Leppänen, S., S. Kytölä, H. Jousmäki, S. Peuronen & E. Westinen 2014. Entextualization and resemiotization as resources for identification in social media. In P. Seargeant and C. Tagg (eds.) The Language of Social Media: Identity and Community on the Internet. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 112-136.
  • Westinen, E. 2012. Bättre folk – kriittinen sosiolingvistinen kommentti suomalaisessa rap-musiikissa. Teoksessa M. Salasuo, P. Komonen & J. Poikolainen (toim.), Katukulttuuri – Nuorisoesiintymiä 2000-luvun Suomessa. Helsinki: Nuorisotutkimusverkosto, 119-141.
  • Westinen, E. 2010. The Linguistic and Discursive Construction of Hip Hop Identities: A View on Finnish Rap Lyrics. Teoksessa M. Palander-Collin, H. Lenk, M. Nevala, P. Sihvonen & M. Vesalainen (toim.),Constructing Identity in Interpersonal Communication. Helsinki: Société Néophilologique, 251-262.
  • Westinen, E. 2007. “Buuzzia, Budia ja hyvää ghettobootya” — The Construction of hip hop identities in Finnish rap lyrics through English and language mixing | Download free PDF


Erasmus Staff visit grant to Tilburg University, the Netherlands, April 6-18, 2014

Research visit to Tilburg University, the Netherlands, November 4-28, 2013

Research visit to Tilburg University, the Netherlands, April 4 - May 2, 2013

Erasmus Staff visit grant to Tilburg University, the Netherlands, October 29 – November 12, 2012

University of Jyväskylä mobility grant to Tilburg University, the Netherlands, October 3 - November 25, 2011


EKIS605 MA thesis seminar (together with Samu Kytölä and Sirpa Leppänen)

EKIS512 Multilingualism and Transcultural Practices

EKIA470 Discourse at Work

EKIP404 Discourse and Literacy

KLSS113 Näkökulmia monikielisyyteen