Communication
quot;things you need to know but 
wouldn't ask”
                              & Contemporary
               ...
What first comes to your
mind about Finland…




         © Vilma Luoma‐aho May 2009
Agenda today

• Some basic background 
  information on 
  Contemporary  culture & life
• Funny current affairs
• “Things ...
Main concepts
   • Finnish Sisu 
     Strength of will, determination, 
     perseverance, “guts“
   • Nokia
     A city, ...
Main Calendar Events of a Finn
 •   Itsenäisyyspäivä 6.12.
       – A ball at the President’s Castle, concerts, talks, bad...
Strongest
           ”cultural
           baggage”
           Divide between 
           the country side 
           & th...
Starting points
• The silent Finns of short answers (summer vrs. winter)
• The most ”American” Country in Europe (minus th...
Businessweek 2009
Global Competitiveness
No. 6: Finland
(-4 vs. last year)
Market Size: 49
Innovation: 3
Education/Trainin...
Starting points
• Extensive universal welfare
• Work‐life –balance is valued (long 
  holidays for all)
• Independency & s...
Culture defining Show:
 Kummeli 1990s on
         ”Artisti maksaa”
         ”Kanada”




         http://www.youtube.com/w...
Culture defining cartoon:
  Viivi ja Wagner, HS online 30.4.2009




The typical relationship: Finnish men as honest  but ...
Culture defining cartoon:
Viivi ja Wagner, HS online 15.4.2009




   Critique to contemporary & political issues: Wagner ...
Cola Olli
Ennätystehdas




”Liian hapokasta, ei pysty”
”Too much acid, no can do”
                     ”Tuliko se yllätyk...
Conan O’brien & Finland




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1WcS4UZKOU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vzwbt4m_KWM
Confessions of a shopaholic
Mitä kaipaat suomesta? 
Korvapuusteja.




        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5muyAz5DYM
South Park, Finland’s dead




”Finland’s thinking about telling the SpaceCops the Truth…”

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?...
Pelataan! Let’s Play!

• 17 questions, several alternatives, 1‐3 are 
  correct!
• Choose the one that matches the cultura...
1. On the Street
                You see people on the street. 
                You do not know them. The 
               ...
2. On the Street
                   You meet people on the street. 
                   You know them, you have
           ...
3. Talking
                   Someone asks you
                   ”Mitä kuuluu?” How
                   are you‐ What shou...
4. Starting a 
                        conversation
                        How do you start a 
                        co...
5. Kahvilat,
                Coffeehouses
              Which of the following
              is not true?

a) Coffeehouses...
6. Transportation
                       In a bus, tram or train if
                       seating is not assigned and 
  ...
7. Day at work
                       Which one of these is a typical
                       work‐day in any office?


a) ...
8. In the store
                   You want to buy fruit in a 
                   store. How do you do it?

a) You find a ...
9. When something
                  bad happens..
                 A friend breaks up from a 
                 long‐time r...
10. When something
               good happens..
               A friend starts a relationship, 
               wins money...
11. Schedule
                When something is 
                scheduled 3 weeks from
                now, you’ll have to...
12. PARTY!
                    A great Friday night consists
                    of the following:
a) Working late, meetin...
13. Family celebrations
             Graduation, confirmation.. 
             parties at home consist of 
a) Singing, danc...
14. Family life
            Bringing up children and running a 
            home in Finland is usually: 
a) Highly involve...
15. Dating
         Meeting people and going out in 
         Finland consists of:

a) Via internet dating services and we...
16. Music
            Finns like music and festivals.. Which of 
            these is NOT a Finnish Summer Music 
        ...
17. Eldercare
           Your parents are getting old and can no 
           longer make it alone. What do you do?

a) Ask...
RESULTS
Give yourself 1 point for each correct
answer.  Add up your points and see:

   17‐30 correct: ”Todellinen suomala...
Communication
Questions,    & Contemporary
comments?
              Culture in 
              Finland


              Intro...
Communication & Contemporary Culture In Finland
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Communication & Contemporary Culture In Finland

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This is the last lecture of a Scandinavian Studies -session at UC Berkeley. The ideas are aggravated stereotypes.. but get the idea across.

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Communication & Contemporary Culture In Finland

  1. 1. Communication quot;things you need to know but  wouldn't ask” & Contemporary Culture in  Finland Introduction to Finnish Culture and History Scand. 132, Spring 2009,  5.5.2009 University of California, Berkeley Vilma Luoma‐aho, PhD, Docent Vinnova Stanford Research Center of  Innovation Journalism, Stanford University
  2. 2. What first comes to your mind about Finland… © Vilma Luoma‐aho May 2009
  3. 3. Agenda today • Some basic background  information on  Contemporary  culture & life • Funny current affairs • “Things you need to know  but wouldn't ask” Interactive game & explanations 
  4. 4. Main concepts • Finnish Sisu  Strength of will, determination,  perseverance, “guts“ • Nokia A city, rubber‐boots, tractors, cell  phones • Kalevala A unifying oral heritage, source of  brands • Mökki A summer cabin near a lake somewhere  with a sauna
  5. 5. Main Calendar Events of a Finn • Itsenäisyyspäivä 6.12. – A ball at the President’s Castle, concerts, talks, badges for citizens • Joulu 24.‐26.12. – Christ’s birth celebrated, Santa comes on the evening of the 24th to  brings presents • Uusivuosi 31.12. – Rockets are shot, people eat sausages & potato salad, some cast tin • Pääsiäinen  – Christ’s resurrection, chocolate eggs, kids dressed up as witches go  trick or treating, big bonfires • Vappu 1.5. – Students and workers celebrate, ”crowning” of cultural statues, heavy  drinking, balloons, speaches • Juhannus 24.6. – ”Kokko” Bonfires, people stay up late, barbeque food at Mökki , all of  Finland is closed down
  6. 6. Strongest ”cultural baggage” Divide between  the country side  & the cities Divide between  the after‐war  babyboomers  KEHÄ III and millennials
  7. 7. Starting points • The silent Finns of short answers (summer vrs. winter) • The most ”American” Country in Europe (minus the  service) • Most coffee drinkers in the world/population • Largest variety of candy • World’s 2nd least corrupt country (Transparency  International)  • World’s most innovative country (Forrester Research) • World’s most competitive country (Forbes) • Best in PISA (math & writing)
  8. 8. Businessweek 2009 Global Competitiveness No. 6: Finland (-4 vs. last year) Market Size: 49 Innovation: 3 Education/Training: 1 To capitalize on its leading position in the high-tech sector, Finland promotes close ties between universities and the business community. That has helped cement the country's global lead in education and training-a category in which it has ranked first for several years. A world-class health-care system and top- notch financial institutions also have made Finland one of the countries to beat.
  9. 9. Starting points • Extensive universal welfare • Work‐life –balance is valued (long  holidays for all) • Independency & self‐reliancy important (individualistic) • Suicidal (10th)  • Mass consumers of pizza • Country of Clubs (social capital) • Heavy emphasis on equality • Finnish culture: ”Everyone else has a  better culture than we do”
  10. 10. Culture defining Show: Kummeli 1990s on ”Artisti maksaa” ”Kanada” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60tpAmHJGR0 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60tpAmHJGR0
  11. 11. Culture defining cartoon: Viivi ja Wagner, HS online 30.4.2009 The typical relationship: Finnish men as honest  but still pigs,  women as dominating with good intentions and ideals.
  12. 12. Culture defining cartoon: Viivi ja Wagner, HS online 15.4.2009 Critique to contemporary & political issues: Wagner does it  better: Wagner has rented  out their balcony for nuclear  waste storage, started an elite prison for financial bankers in  their livingroom and made an MA‐thesis machine.
  13. 13. Cola Olli Ennätystehdas ”Liian hapokasta, ei pysty” ”Too much acid, no can do” ”Tuliko se yllätyksenä?” ”Did that come as a surprise?”
  14. 14. Conan O’brien & Finland http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1WcS4UZKOU http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vzwbt4m_KWM
  15. 15. Confessions of a shopaholic Mitä kaipaat suomesta?  Korvapuusteja. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5muyAz5DYM
  16. 16. South Park, Finland’s dead ”Finland’s thinking about telling the SpaceCops the Truth…” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67uBwbYaJKI
  17. 17. Pelataan! Let’s Play! • 17 questions, several alternatives, 1‐3 are  correct! • Choose the one that matches the cultural  norms and expectations of Finland, choose  one that a Finn would choose • Write down why (1‐2 minutes) • Be ready to discuss your answer • Each correct one gives you a point, each  false answer reduces one • Grading the Finnish way: nobody cheats
  18. 18. 1. On the Street You see people on the street.  You do not know them. The  expected behavior is: a) To  say ”Hei” and smile warmly b) To nod and then look away c) To avoid eye‐contact and look ahead d) To look them in the eye but not say anything e) What other people? I’m walking too fast to notice
  19. 19. 2. On the Street You meet people on the street.  You know them, you have talked to them before. The  expected behavior is: a) To nod and then look away b) To stop and exchange a few words c) To stop and ask how they are doing d) To look them in the eye but not say anything e) To say ”Hei” but keep walking
  20. 20. 3. Talking Someone asks you ”Mitä kuuluu?” How are you‐ What should you say? a) ”Nothing much going on” b) ”I’m fine, how are you?” c) Detailed info on your current state and  doings d) To look them in the eye but not say anything e) To tell of your latest flu or problems
  21. 21. 4. Starting a  conversation How do you start a  conversation at a cafe? a) You don’t, it’s considered flirting b) ”Excuse me, can you help me…” c) By complaining about something d) ”Nice to meet you, my name is..” e) Look people in the eye
  22. 22. 5. Kahvilat, Coffeehouses Which of the following is not true? a) Coffeehouses are not for working b) Most coffeehouses are self‐serve c) Coffeehouses provide you with free newspapers d) Coffeehouses are great places for dating e) You do not tip in a coffeehouse
  23. 23. 6. Transportation In a bus, tram or train if seating is not assigned and  there is plenty of space… a) You sit near the driver b) You sit next to someone c) You sit near other people but alone d) You sit as far away from other people as possible
  24. 24. 7. Day at work Which one of these is a typical work‐day in any office? a) Arrive 6 am, lunch at noon, leave 3 pm  b) Arrive 8 am, coffee 9 am, lunch 11 am, coffee 2 pm,  leave 5 pm c) Arrive any time before 9, leave any time after 4 d) Arrive 10 am, have long lunches and stay all day,  start working at 4 pm, work until 9 pm e) Work from home all day & all night
  25. 25. 8. In the store You want to buy fruit in a  store. How do you do it? a) You find a salesperson and ask them to help you b) You pick the fruit yourself into a bag c) You pick the fruit yourself and weigh it and print the price sticker onto the bag, it is checked at  the cashier d) You pick the fruit yourself and weigh it and print the price sticker onto the bag, it is not checked at the cashier e) Fruit already comes in bags, just grab one
  26. 26. 9. When something bad happens.. A friend breaks up from a  long‐time relationship, gets fired, loses money… what do you do? a) Send them a card telling you’re sorry b) Nothing, give them space to mourn c) Show up at their doorstep with food d) Show up at their doorstep singing e) Call them up immediately, no matter what time it is
  27. 27. 10. When something good happens.. A friend starts a relationship,  wins money, gets a new job…  what do you say or do? a) Nothing, who has joy should hide it b) Sing a congratulating song c) Say ”No! Really? That’s unfair!”  d) Say ”What goes around comes around” e) Say ”I am so happy for you”
  28. 28. 11. Schedule When something is  scheduled 3 weeks from now, you’ll have to… a) Confirm the same day b) Confirm the week before c) Confirm an a few hours before d) Just show up e) Rearrange the whole meeting a few days before
  29. 29. 12. PARTY! A great Friday night consists of the following: a) Working late, meeting up people for drinks, going clubbing until 5 am b) Ending the day early, driving to the country side for  skiing or swimming & sauna c) Ending the day early, going home first, to sauna with your friends, having a few drinks at home and waking up somewhere very different d) Working late and going out to the movies or a hockey  game with a large group of friends and very much fast food e) Leaving work at the normal time, Spending quality time in front of the TV equipped with order‐in pizza  and a large amount of candy
  30. 30. 13. Family celebrations Graduation, confirmation..  parties at home consist of  a) Singing, dancing, good food & laughter in a  laid‐back athmosphere b) Drinking quietly until everyone is drunk and  starts talking, fighting and singing c) Official speeches, formal dress code d) Standing and sitting around quietly in formal wear and eating the food that is served e) Stealing food and sneaking outside to have fun with your own friends
  31. 31. 14. Family life Bringing up children and running a  home in Finland is usually:  a) Highly involved: parents know everything the  children do and like to participate in and drive them to their events and hobbies b) Mediated: parents hire nannies and drivers and  coaches to take care of their children c) Mediated: the government assigns after‐school‐ daycarers for children d) Not really involved: kids go to their hobbies on  their own and parents attend parents’ nights e) Totally disinvolved:  parents and kids have their own schedules and lives and meals
  32. 32. 15. Dating Meeting people and going out in  Finland consists of: a) Via internet dating services and websites b) Going out on dates and getting to know each other with time c) Sitting around in coffee houses and talking d) Drinking until you get the courage to talk to the opposite sex e) Via dating beepers that connect you to the  right people wherever you are
  33. 33. 16. Music Finns like music and festivals.. Which of  these is NOT a Finnish Summer Music  Festival? a) TUSKA (pain) Heavy Metal Festival b) PUISTO (park) BLUES  c) SIBELIUS IN THE SAUNA Festival d) TANGO‐Markkinat e) PORI JAZZ Festival f) ANKKAROCK (Duck‐rock)
  34. 34. 17. Eldercare Your parents are getting old and can no  longer make it alone. What do you do? a) Ask them to move in with you (if you are the  eldest child) b) Buy an apartment nearby and help them c) Apply for a caretaker from the government d) Get them into an institution or assisted place e) Nothing, everyone arranges their own life 
  35. 35. RESULTS Give yourself 1 point for each correct answer.  Add up your points and see: 17‐30 correct: ”Todellinen suomalainen”, 5 stars! Onneksi  olkoon! Osaat lämmittää saunan, tiedät milloin vaieta  ja löydät helposti valitettavaa.  11‐16 correct: ”Tulossa suomalaiseksi”, 3 stars: olet   menossa oikeaan suuntaan, mutta vielä liian avoin ja  puhelias. 5‐10 correct: ”Tarvitaan paljon harjoitusta” 1 star:  suomalaisuuteen tarvitaan paljon hiljaisuutta ja  rauhaa: mene retkeilemään yksin viikoksi ja tee testi  uudestaan. 0‐4 correct: ”Suomalaisuus ei sovi sinulle”: oletko harkinnut  vaihtaa suomentuntejasi espanjantunneiksi? Nyt  kannattaa harkita.
  36. 36. Communication Questions,  & Contemporary comments? Culture in  Finland Introduction to Finnish Culture and History Scand. 132, Spring 2009,  5.5.2009 University of California, Berkeley Vilma Luoma‐aho, PhD, Docent Vinnova Stanford Research Center of  Innovation Journalism, Stanford University

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