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From Might to Mandate

Values in Rulers’ Public Speeches in Finland 1809-2000

Portman Anneli

This study looked at the values expressed in rulers’ (Czars and Presidents) public speeches in Finland from 1809-2000. Three types of written collections of speeches directed to the entire population were used: Parliament Opening Speeches (1809-2000), Prayer Day Declarations (1812-1999) and New Year’s Speeches (1935-2000). Values are manifested and upheld through e.g. yearly recurring public speeches. These speeches are most often held by the heads of state, acting as spokesmen for the entire society. As the rulers present themselves as promoters of the society’s goals, they also act as creators and protectors of cohesion in their speeches. The Czars and Presidents mostly differ on scope of their value emphasis. In their speeches the Czars tend to see the society as a web or personal relations, and they emphasize values relating to the in-group and its welfare and spirituality values. As for the Presidents, they appeal to a wide variety of values, and reflect more the contemporary political situations, for instance Work-related values are accentuated especially in the times of crisis (e.g. war, recession). Towards the end of the time included in this study (1980s and 1990s) values connected to nature conservation and maintenance of global peace come to the forefront of the larger political agenda. The results underline the importance of the context in value research, and encourage the use of more political and archival data in it. This thesis applies social psychological viewpoints to political history, thus contributing to the research and the interpretation of historical phenomena. Furthermore, this study adds to the research of how societal cohesion is rhetorically maintained. The results can also be applied in larger societal context to better understand the links between leaders and their followers.

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  • Julkaisija Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta (Helsingin yliopisto)
    Julkaisuvuosi 2014
    Sivumäärä 234
    Kieli Englanti
    Sarjat Publications of the Department of Political and Economic Studies
    Ulkoasu B5,pehmeäkantinen
    ISBN 9789521090943
    ISSN 1798-9140