Agreeing on definitions of complicated concepts cannot be regarded as a necessary
precondition for mutual understanding. On the contrary, attempting to arrive at such a
definition can easily lead to unpleasantness like superficiality, even oppression.
Narratives about how concepts have been used and how conceptual struggles have been
resolved in different sectors of public life in different cultural settings promote, in a
deeper sense, an understanding of otherness.
In English political language, the notion of people has not been in use for
decades, possibly even centuries - until Tony Blair used the word several times outside 10
Downing Street after the Labour Party election victory. Previously, if used at all, it
basically referred to a leftist notion of the average life of ordinary people. According
to a dominant tradition among British scholars the roots of many unpleasant political
currents in Europe, such as authoritarianism, centralism, anti-republicanism, lie in the
philosophies that take the notion of people (Volk) as a serious point of departure.
At least the notion of the Irish people occasionally comes up in Irish political debate.
To understand Finnishness, one has to understand the key significance of the concept of
the Finnish people.