History, language and football. The position of Swedish-speaking football clubs in Finland

Projekt: Forskning


Football, and sport in general, express values and sentiments in many modern societies (Brabazon 2006, Meinander 1998, Hellspong 2013). Nordic countries found new ways of communicating, constructing and maintaining collective identities in different forms of sports within their local communities, as has been demonstrated by numerous studies that situate sport in social and historical perspective (e.g. Stejskal 1954; Norberg 1998; Backman 2018; Lidström 2018). History is a form of engagement with the past that builds and sustains identities, and it can be analysed as a composition of selective elements that while producing a certain picture of the past also interpret the present (White 1972; Loventhal 2015; Herd 2018).

I propose a study into what kind of history is produced in modern interpretation of the past, and what ideas and evaluations circulate around them today in three Swedish-speaking football clubs in Finland. The structure of the investigation includes looking at a ‘birth moment’ of the clubs, and juxtaposes them with modern interpretations and narratives about that particular time. Hence, the study is positioned in an intersection of history, national and cultural borders and linguistic realities.

My hypothesis is that traces of complex meanings attached to a certain phenomenon through emotional engagement and collective memories are to be found in football. Football’s ‘unstable stability’, a sort of flexible longevity is a curious and crucial manifestation of emotional responses (Herd 2018). Such voluntary involvement on a personal level is not easy to achieve. Thus, studying football can help us understand how meaningful connections in an intersection of historical changes, cultural heritage and linguistic traditions in Finn-Swede society is forged.
Kort titelHistory, language and football
Gällande start-/slutdatum2019/12/012020/11/30



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