FSD3463 Finnish Expatriates' National Identity and Political Participation 2014

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  • Peltoniemi, Johanna (Tampere University)
  • Ruostetsaari, Ilkka (Tampere University)


culture, expatriates, national identity, political participation, politics, voting, voting behaviour


The study examined the national identity and political participation of Finns living abroad. The study received funding from the Unit for Democracy, Language Affairs and Fundamental Rights at the Ministry of Justice, the Migration Institute of Finland and the Finnish Club of Tampere.

Questions surveying national identity examined, among others, how long the respondents had lived abroad, their reasons for moving abroad, languages spoken with different people, contacts and visits to Finland, importance of different places (e.g. place of birth, Finland, country of residence, Europe) and the most important characteristics in terms of their identity (e.g. occupation, citizenship, gender, religion, country of residence). Further questions charted the importance of various things when considering who is a Finn (e.g. being a citizen of Finland, having lived in Finland most of one's life, having Finnish heritage), feeling of Finnishness, feelings of national pride in different things (e.g. international political influence, achievements in sports), and things the respondents felt they had had to change or give up when moving abroad (language, cultural traditions, opinions or habits).

Political participation was surveyed with questions about interest in politics, following politics in the media, forms of political participation engaged in (e.g. signing a petition, participating in a demonstration), participation in citizens' initiatives and membership and participation in associations and organisations. A number of questions about voting were asked, such as the most important things affecting the low voter turnout of Finnish expatriates, ways to increase voter turnout, the usefulness of introducing mail and internet voting and a separate constituency for expatriates, frequency of voting in Finnish elections, distance to the closest polling station, reasons for not voting, political party preference, and voting in the elections of the country of residence.

Background variables included the respondent's gender, year of birth, marital status, Finnish citizenship, education, economic activity and occupational status as well as the Finnish citizenship of parents and type of the place of residence.

Study description in machine readable DDI-C 2.5 format

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