The Fishing President: Ritual in constructing leadership mythology

Tuomas Kuronen, Jouni Virtaharju

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


We study leadership using anthropological and visual methodological viewpoints, starting from Le ́vi-Strauss’ association of ritual and mythology. We explore the private fishing ritual of the Cold War era President of Finland, Urho Kekkonen and his political elite ‘tribe’ using visual discourse analysis. We show how the emergent leadership mythology was communicated both within and outside this tribe. The qualitative dataset consists of one primary and two secondary data types: photographs, and correspondence exchanges and media material fragments. We report our ana- lysis through a photo-essay, in which the development of ritual and mythology is presented over time. Our theoretical contributions include showing the association of ritual and myth in the leadership context and how they are intertwined and how they also may separate, as well as the description of a primal leadership archetype, that of the hunter.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalLeadership
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)186–212
Publication statusPublished - 05.2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 520 Other social sciences
  • anthropology
  • discourse analysis
  • hunter
  • leadership
  • ritual
  • structuralism
  • study of myth
  • Urho Kekkonen
  • visual studies


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