'Finland has a unique culture.' This is uncritically accepted by many ordinary Finns, travel writers and even foreign and Finnish academics. Why is Finnish culture accepted as being unique? What do people really mean when they term Finnish culture as 'unique'? Is Finnish culture really a mystery - an enigma, beyond comparison; something that can never 'make sense'?
In The Finnuit, Edward Dutton reveals Finnish 'uniqueness' to be a religious dogma. It reflects the modern-day religions of Romantic nationalism and its cousin Cultural Relativism which turn disempowered cultures into mysterious gods to be worshipped and awed at. And Dutton argues that Finnish culture can be 'understood' - like anything - through comparison. Drawing upon detailed fieldwork, he finds that Finnish culture makes sense as a diluted Greenland - the world's most advanced Arctic culture.
Edward Dutton is an English anthropologist and journalist. He studied Theology at Durham University and Anthropology of Religion at Aberdeen University. His first book, Meeting Jesus at University: Rites of Passage and Student Evangelicals, is published by Ashgate (2008).
'This intriguing study . . . challenges the myth of Finnish uniqueness through a remarkably direct approach . . . The study itself becomes unique by means of an original and distinctive form of argumentation.'
Dr Tarja Laine, Amsterdam University.
'A very interesting contribution. A solid piece of scholarship. I am certain that it will prove of interest to anthropologists working on Finland . . . Thank-you again for the opportunity to review this.'
Anonymous peer-reviewer for Arctic Anthropology on an article drawn from The Finnuit.
'I would ask you not to publish my name in connection with this . . . It is very politically incorrect and provocative in Finland because Finns are trying to be Westerners after so long connected to the East . . . I find it intriguing, interesting and thrilling . . . but I don't think my Finnish colleagues would be too fond of your thoughts and I have to work with them yet for a couple of years!'
Anonymous senior Finland-Swede Professor.
'Dutton unravels the myth . . . that Finnish culture is unique. Cliches about Finnish culture become science.'
Helsingin Sanomat (Finland's largest newspaper).
Ilta Sanomat (leading Finnish newspaper) on an article drawn from the book.
'A firebomb . . . sure to raise worthy debate . . . Ed Dutton's theory of the Finnuit is too exciting to just be swept under the carpet.'
Vasabladet, (leading Swedish-language newspaper in Finland).
'Finnishness under the magnifying glass.'
Kaleva (Northern Finland's largest broadsheet)
'(The Finnuit) is one of the coolest discussion-starters I have ever read about Finnish culture.'
Stacy Siivonen, KummaKerho.net (Finnish webzine)
'It is to be hoped that Dutton's contribution sparks discussion and further research along similar lines.'
Dr Marie-Louise Karttunen (Helsinki University) in Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society.
'Hooray! No more we do need to explain (Finnishness) to foreigners with Finnish sisu, Santa Claus and the conscientious payment of war reparations. It suffices to say that we are Finnuits . . . This week's prize (for developing a new Finnish concept) goes to Mr. Dutton, "you are welcome!"'
Pasi Heikura (Finnish TV presenter) on Aristotle's Heel, YLE 1 (Finnish national broadcaster radio show about the Finnish language).
'This book is definitely a thought-provoking read and it challenges ways of thinking about Finns and Finland.'
Linda Hart (Helsinki University) in Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthrpological Society
'This is an interesting study that sheds valuable new light on a much neglected and little understood people.'