Autumn 2000

Seeking national essence by Justin O'Connor
In Britain conversations about ‘Britishness’ were – for anyone born after 1955, educated and left of centre – simply embarrassing. This had a clear political dimension. Nations and nationalism were bad. The very question of national identity was saturated with ideology. Forming identities around the image of a nation was what Tories, war veterans, skinheads and football hooligans did.

Ferry, across... Päijänne?!? by John Richardson
Given the freeness with which ideas circulate in the contemporary world, the ease with which they are transmitted to faraway locations and are borrowed or appropriated by diverse cultures or subsequent generations, why not lake Päijänne rather than the river Mersey as the new centre for Beatles studies?

The unaesthetics of television by Markku Koski
Does television have aesthetics? Or what are we talking about when we talk about television? Or is television only a domain for communication, popular culture and cultural studies? Can we talk about ‘an art of television’ as we have been talking about ‘an art of cinema’? By aesthetics I mean a specific means of personal expression and by art I mean distinct authors and their works.

Just war, cruel slaughter and humanitarian bombings? by Riikka Kuusisto
Wars are fought not only with arms, but also with words. Official definitions of conflict situations, publicly declared motives, names given to the warring parties and explanations concerning decisions made in the course of the hostilities — the rhetoric and discourses of war — play as important a role in the progression of events as do the physical acts of belligerency that accompany them.

Why does Basic Income thrill the Finns, but not the Swedes? by Jan Otto Andersson
Basic income is a fascinating idea. People tend to react strongly, either looking upon it as a pivotal liberating device or showing open disregard for it. In two of the Scandinavian countries - Denmark and Finland - the idea of an unconditional basic income has received much attention. However, in Sweden and Norway it has almost been a non-issue. To compare the theoretical and political debates in Finland and Sweden is therefore a means to look at the differences between these two closely related societies.

The hollow promise of social fairness Editorial by Tapani Lausti
Politicians often come up with bland declarations of conviction. The Third Way has been trumpeted as a new way forward in European (and American) politics. But there is something strangely vacuous in the statements connected with this supposedly modern political tendency. More spin than substance, one could say in the currently fashionable parlance.

Previous Focus articles:

Contents page of Focus Summer 2000:

* Serfs and toffs and national popular culture by Kari Kallioniemi

* Polar Jazz: European jazz redefined by Chris Parker

* A brush with death by Tuomas Nevanlinna

* Third way to globalisation by Keijo Rahkonen

Contents page of Focus Spring 2000:

* The Council of the Isles: Nordic Inspirations by Simon Partridge

* Women by the side of the dying - a feminine presence in the face of death by Terhi Utriainen

* Nine routes to cities of culture in Europe
by Antony Thorncroft



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