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  • The North Engendered: Mythologized Histories, Gender and the Finnish Perspective on the Imagined Viking-Nordic Ideal

    Saga Rosenström, Barbora Žiačková

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


    Narratives derived from historical and archaeological knowledge form a core part of the creation of national identities. This chapter offers reflections and observations on the results of a survey-based pilot study into the construction of the Nordic woman in relation to an imagined and mythologized Viking past. In conducting the study, we addressed this topic from the perspective of the Nordic countries more broadly, while here we will focus on the answers of those respondents self-reporting as Finnish.

    We suggest that the image of “the Viking woman” as a symbol of a tradition of gender equality is of high importance to how national identities are formed in the Nordic countries. She represents an idea of the romantic North, and an idealized, explicitly or implicitly, white identity. How the “Viking woman” is envisioned by Nordic societies relates to femonationalist political narratives, and race and racialization in the present day. In the Finnish context, this is further entangled within the tension between Finnishness and the ubiquitous use of a historically derived Scandinavian symbol as pan-Nordic. Taking the respondents’ perspectives as a starting point, we explore the intersection between mythologized history and symbolism, womanhood and Finnish ethnic identity.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Rosenström S. & Žiačková B. 2022. The North Engendered: Mythologized Histories, Gender and the Finnish Perspective on the Imagined Viking-Nordic Ideal. In: Hoegaerts, J et al (eds.), Finnishness, Whiteness and Coloniality. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.33134/HUP-17-4

    This chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial 4.0 license. Copyright is retained by the author(s)

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    Published on Aug. 22, 2022


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