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  • Visualizing Heritage, Ethnicity and Gender: Bodily Representations of Finnishness in the Photographs of the National Inventory of Living Heritage

    Heidi Henriikka Mäkelä

    Chapter from the book: Hoegaerts, J et al. 2022. Finnishness, Whiteness and Coloniality.

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    The main goals of this chapter are to analyze: (1) how the claim of whiteness is reproduced in 21st-century Finland in the processes of producing intangible cultural heritage; and (2) how Finnishness is visualized and embodied in these practices. I scrutinize the newly established wiki-based open access publication National Inventory of Living Heritage (NILH, 2017–), which is a part of the Finnish implementation for the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. In this chapter, I examine the photographs published in the NILH by using a methodological approach of visual discourse analysis. I conduct an analysis of 153 photographs that are divided into categories of (1) manhood, womanhood and family, (2) nature and naturalness and (3) visual othernesses of Finnishness. Building on interdisciplinary studies on heritage, banal nationalism and gender, I argue that the NILH photographs participate in reproducing the normative (e.g. heterosexual, white, family-centered and middle-class) images of Finnishness. Finnishness is embodied in the photographs in active, working, mature bodies that perform either heroic and masculine or collective and caring feminine tasks. Finns are also represented as having an intrinsic connection to “nature.” People are often portrayed in forested landscapes, and the pictures underline naturalized connections between the landscape, ethnicity and sexuality.

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    Mäkelä, H. 2022. Visualizing Heritage, Ethnicity and Gender: Bodily Representations of Finnishness in the Photographs of the National Inventory of Living Heritage. In: Hoegaerts, J et al (eds.), Finnishness, Whiteness and Coloniality. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.33134/HUP-17-3
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    Published on Aug. 22, 2022

    DOI
    https://doi.org/10.33134/HUP-17-3


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