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The spirit of sauna: legitimating the Finnish place brand

Tilotson, JS, Tassiello, V, Rome, AS and Helaniemi, K (2020) The spirit of sauna: legitimating the Finnish place brand. Journal of Place Management and Development. ISSN 1753-8335

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Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate inhabitants of Finland and their continuing efforts to narrate a national identity within the constraints imposed by discursive meanings of Finnish culture through the experience of sauna. Design/methodology/approach – Data collection comprised semi-structured interviews with Finnish local residents and entrepreneurs; these were supplemented with secondary data including books, articles, advertisements and documents referencing sauna in the context of Finland. Findings – The analysis and interpretation by the authors show that the symbolic resource of sauna constitutes the legitimation of Finnish nation branding discourses at three levels: regulative, normative and cultural-cognitive; we label these sauna governance, communal identity creation and mythmaking, respectively. Originality/value – The research contribution reveals that nation branding discourses are also forms of legitimation work. Finnish nation branding discourses are interwoven with sauna as the symbolic resource of “Finnishness” and become conduits for the expression of discursive meanings. This demonstrates that institutional legitimacy is an intrinsic aspect of the ways place branding discourses can be used as a mode of governance (i.e. a policy instrument).

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 12 Built Environment and Design, 15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services, 16 Studies in Human Society
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GT Manners and customs
Divisions: Business & Management (new Sep 19)
Publisher: Emerald
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2020 09:05
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2020 09:15
DOI or Identification number: 10.1108/JPMD-12-2019-0109
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/13212

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