Sauna as Symbol: Society and Culture in Finland

Sauna as Symbol: Society and Culture in Finland

by L.M. Edelsward
     
 

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Every culture has a secret ingredient, and for Finnish culture and society it is the sauna. The sauna is an actual bath and bathhouse which in practical life brings people together in ways otherwise impossible. And the sauna as symbol brings together and integrates the many contradictory ideals and realities of Finnish society and culture. Through the sauna, nature

Overview

Every culture has a secret ingredient, and for Finnish culture and society it is the sauna. The sauna is an actual bath and bathhouse which in practical life brings people together in ways otherwise impossible. And the sauna as symbol brings together and integrates the many contradictory ideals and realities of Finnish society and culture. Through the sauna, nature and culture, the individual and society, the person and the polity, may be woven into an integral whole.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
«Lisa Edelsward has approached the topic of sauna, sacred to the Finns, with the objectivity of an outsider yet with the sensitivity of an insider. As a Finn and a scholar, I find her analysis thorough and delightful, an excellent example of symbolic anthropology.» (Raija Warkentin, McGill University)
«Dr. Edelsward has done for a European society what has hitherto seemed more usual for more exotic cultures: she has taken a central symbol of collective identity and explored its ramifications in the development of ideals and practices related to that identity in its various forms. This work makes an important contribution to the ethnology of Europe, and especially to the analysis of symbolism in national discourse.» (Michael Herzfeld, Harvard University)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780820413952
Publisher:
Lang, Peter Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date:
03/01/1991
Series:
American University Studies Series: Series 11: Anthropology/Sociology , #53
Pages:
270

Meet the Author

The Author: Lisa-Marlene Edelsward is a Canadian of Finnish and Swedish ancestry. After completing her undergraduate degree at the University of British Columbia in Anthropology and Linguistics, she continued with graduate studies in anthropology at McGill University. She has lived for three years in Finland and eight months in Africa (Cameroon). She is currently engaged in ethnographic field research in highland Sardinia, Italy.

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