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Eco‐National Discourse and the Case of the Finnhorse

Schuurman, Nora, Nyman, Jopi
Sociologia ruralis 2014 v.54 no.3 pp. 285-302
Finnhorse, horses, music, nationalities and ethnic groups, rural development
In eco‐national discourses, animals and other nonhumans are represented as national through their position as native breeds or species. In this article, we investigate the definition of the animal as a representative of a ‘national breed’ and its support to nation‐building. This article is a case‐study of the contemporary representation of the Finnhorse as a ‘national breed’ in the context of Finnish discourses of national identity. The materials analysed consist of documents and reports seeking to develop and ‘rebrand’ the Finnhorse, as well as the representation of the breed in contemporary Finnish popular music and culture. The materials are analysed using discourse analysis. According to the study, nationality is a central part of the representation of the Finnhorse, and nature is an essential element in defining the animal as native, therefore claiming its nationality to be natural. The Finnhorse is often also portrayed in the context of nostalgia. In the new contexts of contemporary equine activities, the horse is also provided with a role in rural development.