European Culture, History, and Heritage as Political Tools in the Rhetoric of the Finns Party
Lähdesmäki, T. (2020). European Culture, History, and Heritage as Political Tools in the Rhetoric of the Finns Party. In C. De Cesari, & A. Kaya (Eds.), European Memory in Populism : Representations of Self and Other. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429454813-10
© 2019 Routledge
Various studies have indicated how notions and (mis)interpretations of national history, heritage, and culture are utilized by diverse populist and extremist political parties in Europe. However, scholars have less explored how the idea of a common European history, heritage, and culture are used by these parties to justify their xenophobic, anti-immigration, anti-globalization, and monoculturalist political attitudes and the defense of ‘us’. This chapter focuses on this question by examining the political rhetoric of the Finns Party, the core populist party in Finland. The data consists of selected texts discussing broadly the topics of the EU, Europe, nation, identity, and/or culture, published in the party newspaper between 2004 and 2017. The data is examined using critical discourse analysis by focusing on the notions and interpretations of a common European history, heritage, and culture as political tools in the party rhetoric. The analysis brings out how the texts in the party newspaper picture Europe as a cultural and value-based community sharing a common Christian heritage, traditions, and moral norms, particularly when a threat towards ‘us’ is experienced as coming from outside Europe’s imagined geographical or cultural borders. The notions and interpretations of a common European history, heritage, and culture form a powerful tool of exclusion when they are perceived as a sphere of meanings that cannot be identified with without having generational or ethnic ties to it. Appeals to a common European history, heritage, and culture function as rhetorical mechanisms through which others can be discussed with a vocabulary that veils the prejudiced or discriminative connotations. ...
Parent publication ISBN978-1-138-31811-3
Is part of publicationEuropean Memory in Populism : Representations of Self and Other
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Related funder(s)Academy of Finland
Funding program(s)Academy Research Fellow, AoF
Additional information about fundingThis work was supported by the Academy of Finland under Grant SA274295 (EUCHE)and Grant SA257130 (POPULISM).
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