The changing representations of Finland in geographical texts in Hungary: a contextual analysis

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Hajdú, Zoltán
Paasi, Ansi
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The present article first discusses in theoretical terms the social construction of ideas of the 'Other', i. e. the representations in which the Other is depicted in favourable or disparaging ways. It then attempts to trace the cultural, political and social processes that are typically involved in the construction of representations. As an empirical illustration it provides a historical analysis of the changing images of Finland projected at different times in geographical texts in Hungary. The images are referred to their historical, political and cultural contexts and the relations between the two states. Finland has by tradition been represented as linguistically a kindred country, and the stereotypic descriptions of Finland and the Finns before World War TI were in general favourable. After the war, however, Hungary soon became a member state of the communist eastern block while Finland remained a capitalist western state, and this led to a rapid change in the representation of Finland, which was now treated much more neutrally as one of the western capitalist states, albeit one that had good relations with the Soviet Union, the leader of the eastern block. Since the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the eastern block the former image of a related nation has gained support again. The general aim of this article is to provide a framework for interpreting the historical production of spatial images and representations.
Finnország , földrajz - Finnország , országimázs
Fennia 173:(1) pp. 33-51. (1995)