Battling to be ‘European’: myth and the finnish race debate

This article will examine the debate over the racial origins of the Finns in a new way by looking at the dominant perspective in terms of myth. Focussing on Kemiläinen’s (1998, 2000) discussion, as one of the most salient, the article will dissect the structure of her racial myth and look at how, following Levi-Strauss and Kunin, this myth helps to uphold the contemporary, dominant idea amongst the Finnish elite that Finns are ‘Western’ or ‘European.’ It will note that Kemiläinen’s discussion (in spite of counter evidence) indeed upholds the dominant cultural discourse in contemporary Finland and it will look at how Finland’s status could be understood in this context.