University of Oulu

Tuuli Matila (2021) White death: finnish world war two narrative and alternative heritage work in social media, International Journal of Heritage Studies, 27:6, 617-634, DOI: 10.1080/13527258.2020.1843520

White death : Finnish World War Two narrative and alternative heritage work in social media

Saved in:
Author: Matila, Tuuli1
Organizations: 1Department of Humanities, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.1 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Informa, 2021
Publish Date: 2022-05-22


This paper discusses Finnish war commemoration in social media where the public connects with their history through wartime photography. The focus is on one Finnish social media site that chooses images out of the official Finnish military photography collection for posting. Through social media, the public can participate in heritage work themselves and these sites are becoming increasingly important in creating views of the nation’s past. The pages tend to repeat nationalistic narratives and recreate national myths. One important symbol in Finnish cultural imaginings is the colour white. In the imagery of World War Two, with Finnish soldiers dressed in white snow camouflage, it is used to emphasise the moral purity, innocence and victimhood of the nation. Such symbolism can distort understandings of the war, and the social media pages have become venues where ethnonationalism is maintained and even racist discourse accepted. I argue that more attention should be paid to photography in the construction of heritage narratives, and professionals should react to the kind of heritage invoked by the public in social media.

see all

Series: International journal of heritage studies
ISSN: 1352-7258
ISSN-E: 1470-3610
ISSN-L: 1352-7258
Volume: 27
Issue: 6
Pages: 617 - 634
DOI: 10.1080/13527258.2020.1843520
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 615 History and archaeology
Funding: This work has been supported by the Scholarship fund of the University of Oulu and the Jenny and Antti Wihuri foundation under grant number [00190227].
Copyright information: © 2020 Tuuli Matila. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of Heritage Studies on 22 Nov 2020, available online: