Elina Westinen


Elina 2013

Junior researcher, MA
Tel: +358 40 80 53 237
Internal short number: 7498
Email: elina.westinen(a)jyu.fi
Room: Ag D301
Consultation hour: by appointment


The Construction of Authentic Hip Hop Identities:
Finnish Rappers’ Linguistic and Discursive Repertoires

I am a postgraduate student in the Department of Languages at the University of Jyväskylä and in VARIENG - The Center of Excellence for the Study of Variation, Contacts and Change in English. I began my doctoral studies full-time in March 2009.

My doctoral dissertation explores how Finnish rappers construct their authentic hip hop identities through their linguistic and discursive repertoires in different online and offline spaces. The point of departure was my MA thesis (Westinen 2007) in which I investigated the use of English and language mixing in Finnish rap lyrics. In my PhD study, however, the focus is broader. The linguistic repertoire refers to a biographical complex of various, functionally organized linguistic resources (Blommaert 2010). These are actual, concrete resources such as language varieties, slang, dialects, genres, etc. The discursive repertoire, in turn, refers to a set of discursive resources such as topics, speech act patterns and cultural references.

Theoretically and methodologically, I will draw on discourse studies and sociolinguistics (of globalization). My study relates to research on translocal and local hip hop cultures as well as on identity as socially, linguistically and discursively constructed.

The data include contemporary rap lyrics by three Finnish rap artists. 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 identities I will conduct theme interviews with the artists.

Furthermore, I am interested in how the identities are constructed on the artists’ homepages and myspace pages, both in terms of the linguistic and discursive repertoires and resources.