The Silence of the Finns : exploring the Anatomy of an Academic Myth
Olbertz-Siitonen, M., & Siitonen, M. (2015). The Silence of the Finns : exploring the Anatomy of an Academic Myth. Sosiologia, 52 (4), 318-333.
© the Authors & the Westermarck Society, 2015.
This paper contributes to the discussion on so-called academic myths by analysing the idea of silence as characteristic of a Finnish communication style. By reviewing contemporary research literature and earlier sources, we illustrate how the concept of the silent Finn has emerged and how it endures, reproduced in both public and academic discourses while lacking empirical evidence. Our analysis proposes six key characteristics to academic myths: that they are built on shaky grounds, widely circulated, used as an expedient, intuitively appealing, resistant to change, and self-replicating. The paper addresses possible reasons behind the persistence of such myths and their implications for academic discourse.