Helsinki, Rovaniemi and Hanko in comparison: Corpus-assisted analysis of spatial discourses

  • Jokela, S. (Speaker)
  • Terhi Ainiala (Speaker)
  • Jarmo Jantunen (Speaker)
  • Jenny Tarvainen (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationConference presentation


This paper discusses digital discourses related to three Finnish cities: Helsinki, Hanko and Rovaniemi. We study the ways in which users of social media attach meanings to these cities and how the cities are constituted through social media discourses. All the cities under study are well-known tourism destinations. As such, they have engaged in branding endeavors aimed at steering people’s perceptions towards shared visions of what these cities are about. We approach these visions from the point of view of the users of Suomi24 - Finland’s biggest online discussion forum - in order to find out how the cities’ brands are negotiated in everyday discourses. The data comes from the Suomi24 online corpus (nearly 4.3 billion words), whic covers discussions from the years 2001-2017 (2018-2020 coming soon). With each urban area we zoom into years 2001-2005 and 2012-2017 to find out how place-based meanings are articulated in digital discourses and how these discourses change over time. The analysis draws on corpus-assisted discourse studies (CADS), including collocation analysis. Later, these observations will be accompanied with qualitative analysis and cross-checked with documents related to city branding. The study shows how digital discourses are connected to socio-material realities that prevail in Helsinki, Hanko and Rovaniemi. These cities share certain discourses, but they are also constituted in different ways due to their distinctive histories, identities, and
narratives. Our study contributes to research on the relationship between the formation of socio-spatial consciousness through popular discourses and differentiation of Finnish cities in the post-Fordist era.
Period5 Nov 2021
Event titleMaantieteen päivät 2021
Event typeConference
LocationOulu, FinlandShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational