The island monastery of Valaam in Finnish homeland tourism: constructing a "Thirdspace" in the Russian borderlands

Mikula, M., 2013. The island monastery of Valaam in Finnish homeland tourism: constructing a "Thirdspace" in the Russian borderlands. Fennia, 191 (1), pp. 14-24. ISSN 1798-5617

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The Orthodox island monastery of Valaam in Russian Karelia is today a popular destination for Finnish tourists visiting Russia’s western borderlands. Many of these tourists are descendants of the Karelians who had evacuated the area following World War II. The monastery’s institutionally sanctioned genealogies construct it as the civilizing force, which had brought Christian enlightenment to the local heathen population. This discursive template is played out in the way the place is presented to visitors, with each highlight telling a carefully
constructed story that promotes the monastery’s significance for the Russian religious and national identity. Yet, drawing on lived experience, as well as on popular culture, family lore and meanings from collective memory, the Finnish visitors break the monolithic official discourse and produce a complex "thirdspace" in their own measure. This paper is based on participant observation and semi-structured interviews conducted during a homeland visit to Ladogan Karelia in June 2010

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Fennia
Creators: Mikula, M.
Publisher: Suomen Maantieteellinen Seura,Geographical Society of Finland
Date: 2013
Volume: 191
Number: 1
ISSN: 1798-5617
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 10 Dec 2015 14:25
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2015 14:25

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