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Presentation by Louis Clerc (University of Turku) on "Dilemmas of the globalized nation. Domestication and rejection of the neo-liberal script in Finland’s public diplomacy and nation branding, 1980-2010s"

Feb 08, 2021 | 06:15 PM
Louis Clerc

Louis Clerc


Finland is a small state situated in an interstitial position between Russia and Western Europe. This geopolitical position has consequences not only in terms of politics but also in terms of identity. Finland is also a country highly dependent on exports for its economic wellbeing. During the Cold War, the country had to deal with a difficult situation as a border between the two blocs, with an official policy of neutrality that had to be constantly performed for foreign audiences. All these elements have pushed the Finnish state to dedicate resources to its image policy overseas, in an effort to promote the national image amongst foreign audiences.

Finland’s public diplomacy efforts evolved after the 1980s in their administrative organization, in the tools used, but also in the rhetoric emphasized and in the self-image the country wanted to bring forward. The image the Finnish state worked to promote had to be at the same time acceptable to the locals (for them to accept to "walk the talk" in their foreign contacts), aligned on global trends and definitions of the good culture, the good society, and corresponding to what foreigns societies were supposed to know and appreciate about Finland. 

This presentation aims at opening up four questions :

  • How did the administration of Finland’s public diplomacy evolve in the period between the 1980s and the present day?
  • How did the content of Finland’s public diplomacy evolve? This will give me the possibility to open up two dichotomies: the role of autostereotypes and xenostereotypes (Musial) ; the relation between national imaging and imagining (Clerc, Glover), in other terms the relations between domestic visions of the national self and image building destined to foreign audiences.
  • Through which process was the neo-liberal script integrated in the image of Finland destined to foreign audiences?
  • Was there a backlash against this script, and with which consequences?

Bio Sketch:

Louis Clerc is a professor in Contemporary History at the University of Turku (Finland). His main research interests are in the history of international relations, more specifically public and cultural diplomacy, and Finnish/Nordic foreign policy. 

The event will take place as a part of the MA colloquium of the History Department online via WebEx on February 8, 2021, 6.15 pm-7.45 pm (Berlin time).

Since the amount of spots is limited, please, register for the event at yulia.maximenkova@fu-berlin.de

Time & Location

Feb 08, 2021 | 06:15 PM

WebEx Online Event