University of Oulu

Ferdoush, M. A., & Väätänen, V. (2022). Anticipatory state identity: Understanding the Finnish state’s approach to the Arctic. Area, area.12802.

Anticipatory state identity : understanding the Finnish state’s approach to the Arctic

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Author: Ferdoush, Azmeary1; Väätänen, Vesa2
Organizations: 1Karelian Institute, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland
2Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-11-02


This paper is an intervention on the understanding of state identity in relation to (anticipatory) changes that have occurred, are taking place, and are expected to happen in the Arctic. Focusing specifically on the Finnish state’s approach to the Arctic, we offer the concept of ‘anticipatory state identity’ in order to comprehend the role of ‘anticipation’ in developing and projecting a ‘state identity.’ In so doing, we argue that what drives Finland’s vision to project itself to be(come) an ‘Arctic state’ is fuelled not only by placing a firm foothold in a region of increasing geopolitical importance but also by a consensus among wide-ranging actors in prioritising Finnish Arcticness in its foreign policy. As such, we first shed light on the concept of ‘anticipatory state identity.’ Then we discuss the global and regional shifts that eventually drove Finland to focus on its Arcticness. Third, we delve into the components and enactments through which Finland projects its Arctic identity. Finally, we conclude that anticipatory state identity bridges the gap between a state’s imagination of itself in the future and how such imaginations are materialised and embedded within state policies through a repetitive deployment of narratives and discourses by numerous practitioners in the present. Accordingly, the applicability of the concept moves beyond the Arctic context as it enables reading of (re)forming state identity in line with its anticipatory vision.

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Series: Area
ISSN: 0004-0894
ISSN-E: 1475-4762
ISSN-L: 0004-0894
Issue: early view
DOI: 10.1111/area.12802
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 519 Social and economic geography
Funding: Funding information: Eudaimonia Institute, University of Oulu.
Copyright information: © 2022 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.