Care, longing, and control

Representing corporeal Laestadianism in popular culture

Keywords: Conservative Laestadianism, corporeality, gender, popular culture, power, representation


This article analyses representations of Conservative Laestadianism in contemporary Finnish and Finnish-American popular culture. Drawing from political studies, religious studies and cultural studies, the article sheds light on the ways in which Conservative Laestadianism is present in societal debate and in the cultural imagination. Focusing on religious corporeality, the article scrutinises the embodied practices of Conservative Laestadianism and the ways in which the representations participate in making sense of gender, sexuality, and power in religious communities. Contemporary understandings in popular culture are revealed through the detailed analysis of four cultural products of different genres depicting Conservative Laestadianism: a film entitled Kielletty hedelmä (Forbidden Fruit, 2009), a novel entitled We Sinners (2012), a reality television show entitled Iholla (On the Skin, 2013), and a play entitled Taivaslaulu (Heavensong, 2015). As a synthesis of the representations of Conservative Laestadianism, the article presents a dynamic triad of care, longing, and control. Furthermore, the article raises questions about the potential of popular culture in calling for a dialogue between Conservative Laestadianism and society at large.

Label for peer-reviewed scholarly publications
How to Cite
Wallenius-Korkalo, S. (2020). Care, longing, and control: Representing corporeal Laestadianism in popular culture. Approaching Religion, 10(1), 4–21.