About my positioning

 

I am a boot-thrower and a rural researcher from Finland.

 

As a boot-thrower, in addition to being one hell of a thrower, I act, on voluntary basis, as a responsible for statistics and result service of boot-throwing, for the International Boot-Throwing Association IBTA and for the Finnish Boot-Throwing Association. Furthermore, I act as a director of technical supervisors of boot-throwing. This job means that I am responsible to organize the official supervisors to the main events of boot-throwing (i.e. World Championships, World Cup, Finnish Championships and Finnish Cup).

 

As a rural researcher, I am interested in conceptualizing rural, rurality and countryside in the circumstances of late modern society.  Generally, rural research relies on the traditional concept of countryside and its ontological content, regarding countryside as a physical space that can also be perceived in terms of place and area, whereas in the spirit of the so-called cultural turn this constraint can be relaxed so that countryside can be understood as a cultural/social construct or representation that is relatively independent of physical space. This kind of interpretation brings the rural and boot-throwing together.

 

If we look at the English language the most interesting features of the rural are the properties of open space and contrast implied in the etymology of ‘rural’, ‘rurality’ and ‘countryside’; especially if the notion of open space is interpreted not only in a physical sense but also in a metaphorical one, as a social or cultural space. Contrast animates the rural and open space gives freedom to it. Together they make movement possible.

 

Boot-throwing is not really sports in its modern sense but something between ‘serious’ sport and playful pastime (see Huizinga 1984; Eichberg 2002; Etelämäki & Maximus 2006). A playful sport can be conceptualized – using Baudrillard’s (1983) notion – as a simulation in which the ‘sporty’ realities will be overwritten by the ‘hyper real’ creative play (see also Lawrence 2003). In boot throwing, a rubber boot and the throwing itself are detached from their original meanings, so they represent ruralities  – cultural contrasts to their modern norms. Moreover, boot throwing calls for an open mind and an open physical space.

 

Litterature

 

Baudrillard, J. (1983). Simulations. Semiotext(e), New York.

 

Eichberg, H. (2002). Universaalia leikkiä vai modernia urheilua? Kiistakapulana vetämisleikit. Suomen urheiluhistoriallinen seura, Helsinki.

 

Etelämäki, R. & B. Maximus (2006). Funny Finnish pursuits. Kustannus Oy Aamulehti, Tampere.

 

Huizinga, J. (1984). Leikkivä ihminen. Yritys kulttuurin leikkiaineksen määrittelemiseksi. 3. edition. WSOY, Porvoo.

 

Lawrence, M. (2003). The view from Cobb Gate: falling into liminal geography. In Cloke, P. (ed.): Country visions, 93–115. Pearson, Harlow.