Ainur Elmgren, From Popular Protest to Populism
The concept of ‘populism’ has a brief history in the Nordic countries. However, parties commonly designated as populist are addressing questions that are neither new nor unprecedented in the history of the Nordic countries. In response to a perceived decline of the Nordic welfare state, new protest parties have attempted to address the lack of political influence felt by the electorate. They are often described as populist by scholars and critics alike, but this evaluation is based on very few shared traits in divergent political ideologies. The pejorative sense of ‘populism’ threatens to overshadow its analytical use, making any rhetorical appeal to ‘the people’ potentially populist. Movements defined as populist may share an organic definition of the people and an anti-elitist stance, but it is not unique to them. What makes a political movement ‘populist’, and is there a Nordic variety of populism, or is ‘populism’ merely an arbitrary, denigrating label?

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Pauli Kettunen, Nationalism in debates on a European society
The research on nationalism has expanded since the 1970s, associated with ambitions of problematizing and historicizing the nation-state that is found to be challenged through globalization and European integration. In this scholarly use, nationalism extends to a concept for ideas that are constitutive of modern political forms of social life. Nationalism provides legitimization for nation-states and the international system based on nation-states and appears as a taken-for-granted view on how the world is constructed. In political rhetoric, however, the concept of nationalism seems to be immune to these kinds of conceptual extensions. It is still conventionally associated with aggressive, separationist, xenophobic and protectionist thoughts and actions and only rarely with the advocating of the welfare state or the concern about national competitiveness. When political actors discuss globalization and European integration as “our” new challenges, they seem to reproduce and even revitalize national perspectives, not least those associated with economic competitiveness, which by their virtue of being taken-for-granted are not “nationalistic”.

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Jussi Kurunmäki, “Foreign” and “national” in Finnish and Swedish rhetoric of liberalism, 1809–1939
Kurunmäki examines nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century rhetoric of liberalism in Finland and Sweden from a perspective that sheds light to the intern tension between universalistic ideals and particularistic objectives by focusing on the ways in which the concept of liberalism was presented as national and, alternatively, as foreign of its character. The subproject draws on the notion that the political success of nineteenth-century “liberalism” has to a large extent dealt with the ability of the “liberals” to successfully incorporate their rhetoric into national political narratives.

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Jani Marjanen, Patriotism in the shadow of nationalism
Marjanen’s study of ‘patriotism’ is based on the notion that patriotism as an ‘ism’ has become largely shadowed by the omnipresent and more negatively laden concept of nationalism. Therefore the actual historical uses of ‘patriotism’ have not received attention deservedly. By analysing a selection of canonical key texts, the publications of Finnish and Swedish associations describing themselves as patriotic, and most importantly nineteenth-century newspapers he will target the actual rhetorical use of the concept. The studied texts originate from a period ranging from the advent of the language of patriotism in the eighteenth century to the breakthrough of the concept of nationalism by the end of the nineteenth century.

For publications and more info see TUHAT