The Social Role of (Vaasan) Sport(s): Expressing regional identity and language inclusion: On fan culture in Vaasa, Finland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


In this paper, the social role of Sport(s) is studied and how a regional, linguistic identity is manifested in the performance repertoire (songs and chants) by the Vaasa Sport ice hockey supporters in Vaasa, Finland. More specifically, the performance repertoire during four consecutive games in the Finnish ice hockey SM-Liiga 2019-20.
The purpose is to bring insight into how supporters actively manifest their regional identity, and, in this case, the linguistic identity of a bilingual region.
The results show that the regional and linguistic identity seems to be used both as an instrument to manifest the bilingual regional identity inwards, by singing in both national languages as well as performing language-neutral/bilingual chants during all four games, but also to manifest the bilingual regional identity outwards.
Further, by selecting a game-specific performance repertoire that also pronounces differences to various opposing teams, a contrasting regional and linguistic identity is pronounced by the Vaasa Sport fans.
By adapting a performance repertoire that is bilingual, and further includes a majority of regionally "language-neutral" (mainly English) chants, this performance repertoire may serve as a positive example of language (and in extension cultural) inclusion. This may also have a wider social influence, mainly in the region itself, but could also be used to manifest the region outwards, as language tolerant and inclusive.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberNot numbered, 12/24
Pages (from-to)118-128
Number of pages11
Journalstandpunkt: sozial
Issue number2+3
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Social role
  • Regional identity
  • Inclusion
  • Place identity
  • Place image
  • Sports
  • Fan culture
  • Language groups
  • Linguistic identity
  • Vaasa


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