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In many ways the «Estonian national philosophy» seemed to fit capitalistic ideologies much better than the Norwegian Jante Law(17)according to which you should never believe that you are better than your neighbor. Estonians described themselves as jealous of each other. An Estonian friend told me that «There are no satisfied Estonians, we always want more». He explained that if your neighbor owns a Mercedes and you only have an Audi, you will try to make more money in order to buy a better car than your neighbor. In more than one way it can be said that solidarity was lacking among Estonians. Estonia and especially Tallinn was a very insecure place when it came to both crime and future possibilities, even though the first impression was a post-communist society which had experienced an economic and social miracle in only a few years. The Estonian youth who seemed ambitious and successful often had to provide for their parents who made less than their children. Young people in their mid-twenties often worked full time and studied part time. At TTÜ, the university where I had an office, many classes were held in the evenings after the students had finished their jobs. It was not uncommon to meet students in the corridors with mobile phones and suits which often indicated that they were involved in commercial business, commonly their own.


The title of this text is borrowed from Dell Hymes, who argued that sociolinguists ought to be concerned not with the artefactualization of (institutional-normative) Language, but with what people do in and with language. I use this title because I embrace this view, and because it precisely summarizes my reactions to a review of a book of mine. The book is Ethnography, Superdiversity and Linguistic Landscapes: Chronicles of Complexity (Multilingual Matters 2021), and the reviewer is Lars Hinrichs (Journal of Sociolinguistics 19, 2021: 260-265). It is good to keep in mind that the only ambition I had with this little book was to show that an ethnographic linguistic landscape analysis could analyze a particular social unit – a neighborhood – as a complex and dynamic system, a moving target, rather than as a “snapshot”. I thus addressed shortcomings I had identified in some other work in linguistic landscape studies.

These business people knew that local contacts were important, and this was even part of their discourse on business, but they were often unable to form the right contacts. In this sense they failed to really «do business» in Tallinn. The Norwegian and Western environment was in many ways part of a translocal network, rather than a truly local network, and existed independently of the Estonian business environment. To the participants in this network, successful business people like Hallvard became dangerous, and threatened their business identity, as he represented someone who did business differently than themselves. Hallvard had managed to penetrate the local Estonian networks, which were based on «instrumental» relationship, and was «doing successful business» based on local as well as Western contacts. In the Norwegian business environment, it was rumored that Hallvard's Estonian contacts belonged to the Mafia. These rumors contributed to create a discursive order that explained why the other Norwegians were unable to succeed in Tallinn.


Appadurai, Arjun (1996) Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

This is a good example of a global crime, and clearly relevant to both globalisation and crime and deviance. In this case the scammer-criminals are in India, their victims in Great Britain, America and Australia.


The Norwegian boss never doubted the legitimacy of his management ideals, and that his success was a product of his ability to «do business», in conformity with global business ideology. It may be claimed, however, that his business success was a product of his local background, as a Norwegian, rather than his competence as an ideal global business person. The ideals of equality and democracy are often mentioned, in Norway, as distinctive stamps of Norwegians. Hierarchical organizations are commonly frowned upon and Norwegians are suspicious of anyone who openly shows or admits to have money or fame - especially if they refuse to admit that this has not changed their lifestyle in any way. Norway has experienced considerable economical growth since the seventies, and today, media and politicians increasingly focus on the pressing social problem of how to deal with the millionaires. Equally important as equality, is the ideal of democracy. Ideally every interest group in Norway should have a say in the organizing of the country (one of the side effects is an overwhelming bureaucratic system), and the decisions should be taken by consensus rather than competitive bargaining. Estonians, in contrast, describe themselves as calculating, competitive, and used to relating to differences in authority and position. Many Estonians focused on trust as important in their business relations, at the same time as they said that it took time before they trusted anyone. In the case above, we have seen these two local habitus meet and interact, while the parties judge each other's performance by the standards of global business ideology.

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His daughter is like a daughter to me and my wife. Our families visit each other and his daughter has even lived with us in Norway for six months. We often see things differently, but we never cease to trust one another. Our company's equity is not very high.

As we shall see below, the «collectivist» aspect of Norwegian business habitus may under certain circumstances be well received by the Estonian party, and may contribute to business success. In the present situation, however, the Norwegian entrepreneur is attempting to «open doors» into a new niche. Here Norwegian business habitus appears to be counterproductive. It is neither able to convince others to open doors, nor to force them to open on its own.


Berit and Gunnar Partapuoli have supported me financially and otherwise, much longer and more generously than I could expect. I can only hope that I am worth their concern and money.

From an Estonian point of view, Tallinn carries a historical heritage as a center for trade, a place of contrasts between people, and a society which at times has been isolated from the Western parts of Europe, all at the same time. As a nation which has experienced independence for less than ten years, Estonia is trying to create a sense of national unity and identity, often using aspects from its history. Indeed history is hard to escape when the Soviet apartment buildings are still housing thousands of people and the Hanseatic houses are inhabited by new businesses. Official politics in Estonia are liberal and directed towards Western Europe as opposed to the centrally regulated economy of the Soviet Union. But Estonian behavior is still often explained on the basis of their history. This is a place which in many ways would seem to be predisposed to welcome foreign capital and business people. International business is «being done» in a setting shaped by a historical awareness and sometimes nostalgia, a wish to become Western Europeans, and at the same time a skepticism to the changes.


These profile data are usually multimodal and contain images as well as text. Both are narrative modalities: they separately and jointly tell something about us, and are selected in such a way that we expect (or hope) others to recognize the relevance and authenticity of our stories. Let us turn to my own Twitter profile for an example.

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Nevertheless, in highly endemic areas the majority of TB cases occurring in those with prior LTBI may be due to reinfection rather than reactivation; in Canada, where repeat exposure is much less common, most active TB reflects reactivation and not reinfectionFootnote 23-25. In the severely immunocompromised host, reinfection and initial infection carry a similarly high risk of disease regardless of when the reinfection occurred (refer to Chapter 6, Treatment of Latent Tuberculosis Infection).


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Introduction to International Relations

Prestige products – a synonym, for decades, of products manufactured abroad in ‘the West’ – were almost invariably accompanied by English publicity items. Thus, in figure 2 we see a small and older sign promoting Nivea cream with an English text, next to another one for Pepsi equally in English. Driving through Dar es Salaam, we still see English widely used whenever elite products are being promoted: hotels and spas, wines, brandies or whiskies, imported beers, some banking facilities, insurance and so forth. But when it comes to that one commodity set emblematic of globalization, things are different. Mobile phone adverts are overwhelmingly in Swahili, and the English Nivea and Pepsi signs in figure 2 are juxtaposed with several mobile phone advertisements, in Swahili.


Behavior and even language could change literally by crossing a threshold. At home one could express opposition towards Soviet rule, but once out of the house people would conceal such opinions. Today the fancy new offices down town have little in common with the small and crowded apartments in some of the suburbs of Tallinn. But modern offices may be concealed behind steel doors in run-down buildings. The gaps between rich and poor, old and new, ethnic Russians and ethnic Estonians, and Tallinn and the rest of Estonia are growing fast. It is for example not difficult for a Western firm to hire qualified Estonian workers. It is common for many young Estonians to speak competent English, Finnish and Russian in addition to Estonian, and to be well informed on Western ways of running a business. Some of the Norwegian firms even hired Estonians who were fluent in Norwegian or Swedish. But there are significant differences between the people who have this knowledge and those who do not. People who have the skills to work in Western firms or private businesses have a better possibility to make more money or to get a job than those who only have a Soviet education.

Thus, although patients may appear to have an equal number of bacteria in their sputum, the physical and chemical properties of their sputum, as well as their effectiveness as an aerosolizer, may determine whether they produce a large or small number of droplet nuclei. The role of smoking, allergy or coincidental viral upper respiratory tract infection in aerosol formation is unknownFootnote 79.


Understanding Cultural Differences. Germans, French and Americans, Yarmouth, Maine: Intercultural Press Inc.

The general opinion among the business people I spoke to is that larger investments increase the chances for a high profit, but also for losses. The factors of risk are seldom constant and they vary from one context to another. Economic crime, insufficient infrastructure, red tape, undeveloped markets are some critical external factors in Tallinn which increase risk. Problems of concrete business cooperation within a firm are also a source of risk.


Small Places, Large Issues: An Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology - Eriksen, Thomas Hylland

One of the most conspicuously different features of Dar es Salaam urban life these days is the generalized use of mobile phones. Like in other places in Africa, mobile phones solve a perennial problem: offering a means of long-distance communication cheaply and effectively, without requiring the massive investments required for landline networks. In the developing world, mobile phones represent a genuine revolution and are seen by influential policymakers as crucial tools for future economic, social and political development.

An Estonian company with a Norwegian Director. The company was established by the Norwegian Director in 1992. They broke up old ships and sold the scrap metal to Europe, but they would also engage themselves in other projects they found interesting. The company obtained a profitable agreement with the City of Tallinn to remove old ships from the ports of Tallinn and Paldiski. In return they could keep the scrap metal they treasured. An Estonian woman worked as the Vice Director and an Estonian man was the translator and the Personnel Manager of the company. The Vice Director had been working with the Norwegian Director since he first established the company in Estonia. The Norwegian Director came to Tallinn in 1989 together with one of the other Norwegian business people. The company moved to Kaliningrad after having finished their assignment in Estonia.


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The 'store company' also faced problems in the running of the individual stores. The Norwegian company hired Estonians as managers of the local branches. There were misunderstandings concerning routines, cooperation, marketing, planning and the organization of the goods in the stores. The Norwegian man working as an assistant during the establishment of new stores gave me an example of an incident he had found frustrating. He asked the staff to place a stock of children's shoes in visible places in the store. He pointed out the exact places to the staff. The shoes were on sale that week and the Norwegian wanted them to be especially noticeable to the customers. His orders had not been followed when he returned to the store the next day. He consequently had to arrange the shoes himself. According to him this situation illustrated how the Estonian staff was unable to understand how to market and sell goods efficiently.

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People in a 'high context society' have extensive knowledge about each other beforehand and communicate on a different basis than in more specialized 'low context' societies. If two Norwegian business people in Tallinn meet to negotiate a deal, part of the information will be made explicit. But the outcome of the negotiations will to a great extent be dependent on the unsaid information which the actors have acquired through other channels, such as gossip. Whether the business partners are personal friends or whether they have dealt with each other previously are factors which contain important information which, though not made explicit, influence the negotiations.


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As we saw in Chapter One, networking has always played a prominent role in business practice, and in modern business discourse the importance of networking is explicitly acknowledged. This is seen in both formal and informal business contexts. Thus, during the high-profile «business day» held in Tallinn in 1996, in connection with the Norwegian Prime Minister's official visit, the coffee breaks were called «network breaks». The idea was that participants could meet in a more relaxed atmosphere during the breaks and lay the groundwork for future cooperation and deals. In less formal contexts, the importance of having good networks was constantly emphasized by my informants.

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I will argue along similar lines that a number of disparate events taking place in the world may be part of the same process, whether they originate from an obscure local community or a transnational company. I will argue that processes which are global in their reach also play a role in people's lives. Even though some global processes are transmitted through the media they still communicate between real places and purvey cultural ideas which are interpreted and articulated by real people. The idea of a global culture (or global cultures) does not presuppose the disappearance of local cultures, but takes into account that mechanisms which have a global effect will influence localities. The Norwegian and Estonian business people will, for example, relate to global ideas of business culture when they are cooperating. Throughout this thesis global processes will be identified and related to local processes.


Let me underscore this for clarity’s sake: separating ‘text’ from ‘context’ excludes a fundamental feature of communication nowadays, that context is text, and more broadly, that society is language. Detaching both amounts to trying to extract the egg from the omelet. And it is (to use contemporary slang) “so twentieth century”.

When anthropologists choose their field of study, the world of commercial business is seldom an alternative. There are a large number of anthropological studies of trade within communities in the Third World or studies of non-monetary economies such as Barth's study of economic spheres in Darfur (Barth 1981) and Clifford Geertz's examination of economic modernization processes in two Indonesian towns (Geertz 1963). But the situation of business people operating in the economic system of the Western World is mostly ignored. One exception is Edward T. Hall and his wife Mildred Reed Hall who have written books on cultural differences between American and Japanese business people and American, French and German business people (Hall and Hall 1987, 1990). These books are largely directed at the people actually «doing business», not social scientists, and function as guide books in how to «do business». But the authors also introduce analytical tools for a cross-cultural understanding of business situations (these analytical tools are developed in other works by Hall, see for example Hall 1984). But on the whole, anthropology has been known to seek the exotic as its focus. Western-style business may be viewed as familiar and consequently not interesting to American and Western European anthropologists. Another aspect of anthropology is the tendency to study 'down'. It has been argued that Western anthropologists only study people with fewer resources than themselves.


The Hanseatic League (an alliance of towns of Northern Germany and neighboring countries for the production and advance of trade and commerce) was yet to be formally defined during the first German period (1227-1238), but the association already existed. It is thus common to call the German towns of that time for Hanse (McEvedy 1961:72).

While early disease progression may or may not result from lympho-hematogenous spread, late disease progression (refer to Figure 1) is almost always the result of the lympho-hematogenous spread of bacilli. Recent infection with early disease progression probably accounts for many cases of TB in recently arrived immigrantsFootnote 12. For purposes of disease reporting, everyone with a diagnosis of TB made within 18-24 months of infection is considered to have "primary" disease (on balance about 5% of those infected). Those newly infected people in whom TB does not develop within this period of time will either be left with LTBI and will never experience disease (on balance about 90% of those infected) or, after a variable period of latency, they will develop late disease progression (on balance about 5% of those infected, refer to Figure 1).


Estonians will emphasize the Hanseatic period, the Swedish era and the first Estonian republic as the most positive periods in their history. The Soviet times are often blamed for everything that is dysfunctional in Estonia today. This is similar to what Rande noted in Lithuania two years after independence. She argues that the Lithuanians used the Soviet legacy as an explanation of why things had not gone as planned (Rande 1996). The «Hanseatic spirit» is treasured and brought to the surface in many parts of Estonian life today. The Old Town is a magnet for tourists, but also a symbol of pride to the Estonians. The Hanseatic history is often used by Estonians as an example of a prosperous time when Estonia played an important part in the trade within Europe, and contrasted to the Soviet period. It is also said to prove that Estonians are traders at heart, have long traditions of commercial activity and know not only how to relate to the planned economy that existed during the Soviet period. The Swedish times are associated with education. Estonia's first university; the University of Tartu, was established by the Swedish king as Sweden's second after Uppsala.

Legends of People, Myths of State. Violence, Intolerance and Political Culture in Sri Lanka and Australia, Washington DC: Smithsonian Institute Press.


As the ad for the Hongkong bank suggests, some external factors like clothing help us determine whether or not we are dealing with a business person. When I asked business people to describe businessmen and women they often started with the dress code in business. One Norwegian businesswoman said: «I would have to start with the clothes. Business people have to be dressed nicely and most of them carry a briefcase». The dress code makes it easy to recognize business people. No one will question whether the two Asian men in the ad mentioned above are business people. The dark suits immediately indicate that they work with business even though the ad never mentions the word. I shall not attempt to give a further account of the style in clothing among business people, except to note that there are some differences between how business people dress in Tallinn and Oslo. I once met a Norwegian businessman on the plane from Stockholm to Tallinn who told me that when he met his business partners in Norway he did not always wear a suit, and he had once forgotten to bring a suit and tie to Estonia. The people he tried to make a deal with in Estonia only addressed his Estonian partner who was properly dressed for the occasion.

His words and especially the last sentence cover much of the general feeling at the time: improvements coupled with impatience. Western investors could argue that they were «helping» the society in question by investing, while they had the possibility of making money at the same time. The Eastern party wanted Western capital in order to make their region or country wealthy, prosperous and safe.


Globalisation and Global Development

In Estonia he had made arrangements to organize the running of an Estonian textile factory. He had bought second-hand machinery and received financial guaranties from Norway. The first problem he faced concerned the transportation of the equipment to Estonia. It proved difficult to rent containers in Scandinavia because Estonia was considered a high-risk area. When he managed to rent containers in the Netherlands at a higher cost than he had originally calculated, his initial time schedule was delayed. The factory was put in operation in 1991. The first months went by without any problems, but when the factory started to pay off financially, the problems arose. According to Frank the Estonian management was unwilling to reinvest money that was made back into the factory. Instead they wanted to increase their personal salaries. Simultaneously the factory faced problems with obtaining raw materials.

The Estonian and the Norwegian had worked together for three years when I met them, and they were both satisfied with their factory in Tallinn. When I asked them for an interview I was invited to the Estonian's home. The Norwegian's family was visiting. The mother of the Estonian was ill and the Norwegian family and the daughter of the Estonian had just returned from the hospital where they had been to see her. I asked the two men how they would describe each other as business people.


Global Culture. Nationalism, Globalization and Modernity

The students of social anthropology in Tromsø have made the study of anthropology interesting and fun. Ellinor Angell, Jørgen Iversen and Per Egil Kummervold have read, discussed and commented on early drafts of the text. Ellinor has contributed with ideas, especially on business stunts, and comfort throughout the entire process.

PISA stands for the ‘Programme of International Student Assessment and is run by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. An overview of the PISA programme and summary of the 2021 results can be found on the PISA website here.


One may argue that the countries which were the first to implement market oriented reforms, such as the Baltic States, Hungary and the Czech Republic, also had the most favorable basis for reforms. They were relatively small and had experienced some economic reforms prior to 1989 (Mailand-Hansen 1988). The economic success of these countries may thus be due to their favorable starting points in contrast to other Eastern European countries, and not only the swiftness of their implementation of reforms after the breakdown of the Eastern Block.

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I met my first informant on the plane from Oslo to Tallinn. This was a Norwegian businessman who was on his way to Tallinn in order to inspect his Estonian printing press. From that time on, I had very few indifferent conversations just to kill time, at least from my perspective. I focused my concentration in order to absorb every word the businessman uttered. The fieldwork had started and everything was dependent on my ability or disability to attain data. I believed that if I managed to get the right data (and, more importantly enough data), I would acquire a thorough understanding. This was when I first noticed the intensity of doing fieldwork. Everything I saw or experienced became important and was transformed into data. I later realized that I sometimes lost the ability to see things in perspective and I am sure that it is important to be more relaxed than I was, and just let things happen without trying to analyze everything immediately. After a few months I slowed down, but a field break was out of the question.


While Hinrichs’ review, in fairness, is not a negative one, it is littered with statements that reveal “one of the problems with language” as Hymes saw it. I’ll review some of those statements and provide feedback to them. Not because this is about me – as an author, I am deeply grateful to Hinrichs for having engaged at some length with my work – but because it is about a larger vision of what we should be doing as sociolinguists.

The banker then wanted to know if the Norwegian firm could receive a loan in Scandinavia and then refinance it in their bank. This led to a relatively heated discussion. Projects in Estonia are not always considered credit worthy in Scandinavian banks because Estonia is viewed as a high-risk country. The interest rates are very high in Estonian banks and therefore not favorable for the lender. This makes it hard for a foreign business to start new projects without having sufficient capital beforehand. The Estonian banker wanted the Norwegian firm to take up a loan in a Scandinavian bank and then refinance it. This would provide the Estonian bank with security, as to whether they could trust the Norwegian loan applicant or not, but would make the investment almost impossible for the Norwegian firm. The Norwegian party would probably prefer it the other way around and take up a loan in an Estonian bank and then refinance it in a Scandinavian bank with lower interest rates. The high interest rates in Estonian banks were often criticized among Norwegian and other Western business people.


The optimism and enthusiasm during and after independence can partly be ascribed to a «collective memory» (Connerton 1989) of the first Estonian republic, which lasted for 22 years (1918-1940), between the two world wars. The myth of Estonia as an independent nation and part of Europe instead of Russia, which had been kept alive all through the Soviet period, suddenly promised to be realized in practice during the liberation process and the years of Estonian nation-building. Torstein Bach, who has done fieldwork in Estonia, points out that the First Republic was used as a model during the establishment of the present Estonian republic. Independent Estonia after 1991 was also often viewed as a continuation of the first republic in 1918 (Bach forthcoming). The meaning of national ideology is, according to Rande (following for example Anderson 1983 and Kapferer 1988), shaped by what she calls the «historical present» (the «presence» of the past in the here and now), and provides meaning for the nation as well as for individuals (Rande 1996:23). Such interpretations of history were widely used in the process of creating an Estonian national ideology after independence, and some periods of the country's history were given stronger emphasis in the forming of national consciousness than others. Selected aspects (both positive and negative) of Estonian history which were considered to be of current interest, were part of the creation of a national ideology.

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The Vice President of the company started her description of the Norwegian President by telling me that he had the same horoscope as her former Estonian employer. The two men were born on the same day, but they were completely different. Her former boss drank too much and drove expensive cars, but failed to pay salaries. Not every Estonian boss was like him, but from her experience Estonian and Norwegian styles of management were very different. Estonian bosses would demand things from their employees and get angry if their orders were not followed. She has never seen her Norwegian boss angry. He never yelled and spoke in a softer tone than her former Estonian superiors.


Both the Project Manager and the President were frustrated after the bank meeting and dissatisfied with their working relationship. She used the Estonian language to exclude her boss, just like she felt he did when he spoke Norwegian on the phone. But her boss failed to see why she was disappointed and interpreted this as an example of her inadequate ability to «do business correctly» according to global business ideology. He had been disappointed with her for a long time, but had not fired her, nor had he discussed the problems with her, to try to get her to sympathize with his situation. He was dependent on her, but unable to exercise any authority over or towards her. As with the banker, it was the level of professionality in the firm which disappointed and surprised the Project Manager. Through the formulation of her expectations she revealed one idea of how business «should be done» which was repeated by many Estonian business people working with Western partners, namely the wish for professionality and «correct» running of businesses. The Norwegian was not an experienced or professional businessman in the Estonian setting. He was an entrepreneur who was feeling his way into the Estonian market and unaware of local expectations of a Western businessperson. The Project Manager, on the other hand belonged to the first generation of market oriented Estonian business people, trained in modern Western-style business schools.

Coca Cola took over an old bottling plant in Tallinn in 1990. They produced soft drinks for sale in Estonia. Its main office for the Baltic States and Russia was situated in Oslo. That was one of the reasons why two Norwegian men in their late twenties were hired to assist through the initial process on the newly restructured bottling plant in Tallinn. The long term plan for Coca Cola was that the whole organization would be run by local labor and expertise. One of the Norwegian men worked as sales and marketing administrator and the other was responsible for the reorganizing of the computer systems. In the computer department two Estonians worked closely with the Norwegian. One was in his forties and used to work at the old bottling plant with computer systems, and was about to leave the company in 1996. The other Estonian was in his early thirties.


Tord Larsen has argued that Norwegians have a tendency to place any new idea within an already established context (Larsen 1993:28). He claims that Norwegians also find it difficult to remove anything out of its familiar context, be it music or specific categories of people.

But business people need factual information, and gossip can be an unreliable source of information for people who are uncertain of how to interpret the truthfulness of the stories. A good network can provide access to significant people who know who and which rumors to trust.


Outdoor exposures are very unlikely to result in transmission unless the source and the susceptible person are in talking distance. Bacillary dispersion is immediate, and sunlight rapidly kills any viable bacilliFootnote 91Footnote 92. For practical purposes outdoor exposures are not investigated during a contact tracing exercise.

It also strongly plays into that urban life-world – even more: it has become an icon of the culture of urban life. And a key element of this culture is a new register of ‘cool’ Swahili.


Two Norwegian businessmen gave me an example of how business contacts could be established in Tallinn. «Geir» (the names are fictional) was a Norwegian businessman who had produced furniture in Tallinn for almost three years. He told me how he three years ago was invited to «Hallvard's» house one night. Geir described Hallvard as a successful businessman and a "clever Dick" when it came to doing business in Eastern Europe. Hallvard had formerly been involved in business deals in Russia, but eventually settled in Tallinn, where he had made quite a name for himself in the business environment as an expert at pulling off seemingly doomed deals. One example was when he visited a museum somewhere in Russia. After he had seen the exhibitions, he by accident came across a container filled with broken china. He noticed that the china was decorated with real gold and asked the management whether he could buy the container and its contents. The container was very cheap as they were happy to get rid of it. Hallvard shipped the china to the Netherlands and managed to extract the gold and make a small profit. Hallvard himself later verified this story.

CURATING GLOBAL ART - Positions and Voices, Essays and Art from Images

The idea of accumulation is clearly visible in today's business. If the financial annual results of a firm are better than the previous year, it is common practice in business to estimate an even higher profit rate for the following year. The grounds underlying this logic are based on an ideal belief that a 5% growth rate one year can be doubled into a 10% growth rate the next year. Norwegian media will, for example, report that SAS had a bad result this year because the organization operated with a 100 million kroner profit, down from 200 million kroner last year (not actual numbers). The company has a positive balance, but they have not managed to further maximize surplus and thus the final result is described as disappointing.


Because of the highly variable latency period of M. tuberculosis infection it is difficult to precisely document transmission using currently available tools. People found to have positive TSTs and/or IGRAs during contact investigation may have been infected in the past (remotely) rather than by the recent source case of concern, though for contact management and public health purposes these contacts are treated as if recently infected if there is no way to determine the duration of infection. DNA fingerprinting techniques will only detect transmission to the small group of people in whom active disease develops following transmission. If most TB disease in a community reflects recent/ongoing transmission, the first priority for public health authorities should be to prevent further transmission. On the other hand, if most TB reflects reactivation of remotely acquired infection, the priority should shift to identification and treatment of people with LTBI, notably those with risk factors for reactivation.

It is enough if someone smiles nicely. I think Estonians are more skeptical. It is important for Norwegians to establish a contact in Estonia in order to succeed.


A proportion of those who are recently infected are unable to contain the infection despite the stimulation of CMI and DTH, and there is progression to disease in a matter of months. Such early disease progression is a function of age and immunologic response, disease being especially likely to occur in young children and the immunocompromised.

It is also possible that new media is leading to a new consensus of acceptance of diversity and equality, as minorities who are oppressed in one country feel a sense of solidarity with those who are not oppressed in other countries, which puts pressure on oppressive governments to become more liberal. For example, it is harder for some less developed countries to keep homosexuality illegal, or to oppress women, when social media connections constantly remind people that such things are not acceptable in (typically) more developed countries.

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Even Great Britain, which has gone through profound privatization processes compared to other Western countries, has privatized quite gradually and still spends large amounts on social services provided by the state. The average public spending in the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries amounted to 45/9% of GNP in 1997 (Skonhoft 1998:2). It thus seems strange that countries which until recently have been heavily dependent on state services should be advised to go through with a rapid privatization of sectors such as the postal services, hospitals, electricity and water supply. Nevertheless, this is the procedure the IMF and the World Bank recommend towards countries in Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America and lately in Indonesia. In order to be considered creditworthy and to receive advantageous loans during the economic crisis the country experienced in 1997-1998, Indonesia had to reduce its official spending dramatically. This is not to say that the reforms throughout Eastern Europe have been unsuccessful in all respects. But the elimination of public safety nets in already rapidly changing societies, without the reinstatement of new institutions, has created a situation of insecurity among the public. Thus, in the Fafo report mentioned above, on living conditions in Estonia after independence, the research team found that a majority of the Estonian population distrusted the new national authorities and that many Estonians viewed the recent changes as a threat to their standard of living (Grøgaard 1996:243).


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If the company had run a market analysis ahead of their arrival they might have learned that there are important differences between the Estonian and the Norwegian markets. Estonia does not have a large wealthy middle class, as Norway or the rest of Western Europe and the most important factor for the Estonian consumer is in most cases still the price, as an Estonian businessman put it. As mentioned above the Estonian consumers also have specific demands which are not necessarily obvious to Norwegians. Apart from darker bread and tea in bulk weight in Russian areas, another example is the preference for salted pickles in Estonia rather than the pickles sold in Norway which often contain sugar. Competition is also stiffer in Estonia. The market places from the Soviet period are now filled with cheap and relatively high-standard goods. Ever since Soviet times there have existed small basement stores which sell groceries. These stores have very reasonable leases and can thus often offer cheaper goods than the supermarkets.

He felt that he was part of the business and had to stay sober in order to do a good job. He used this as an example of how things had changed at workplaces after independence. Many Estonians would tell me about how the approach to drinking during working hours had changed. Some of them would quote this as an example of the increasing insecurity in their society. Now you simply lose your job if you are caught drinking whereas during the Soviet times you would keep the job and your colleagues might care for you. But the Personnel Manager was thankful for the ultimatum that was presented to him.


The official language in Estonia is Estonian which is a Finno-Ugric language and has twelve cases, and is closely related to Finnish. Even though I studied Estonian on my own before I came to Estonia, took private lessons in Estonian in Tallinn, and tagged every item in my very sparsely furnished room with its Estonian name, I never really learned to speak Estonian. My limited language skills were, however, never my main concern after arriving in Tallinn. The business language among the Norwegian and Estonian parties was English or Norwegian, if the Norwegians had hired some of the numerous Estonians who actually spoke Norwegian. Estonians came across as extremely skilled in languages, especially those who were oriented towards the Western influences in Estonia, and this was the case for most of the people I socialized with. It was not uncommon for young Estonians to speak four foreign languages fluently; Finnish, English, Russian and either French, German, Norwegian, or Swedish. Most people did, however, not have many chances to practice their foreign language skills and I was never allowed to stutter in Estonian if Estonians knew that they could practice their English on me.

The existence of a global ideal of business and the fact that business people related to its general characteristics (such as profit, risk, entrepreneurship, responsibility and networking), created an expectation among the Norwegian and Estonian business people that business should be the same everywhere. It also made them commit themselves and try to live up to what they defined as the right way of «doing business». When they experienced that business does not mean the same in every setting, because of different local circumstances and differences between Norwegian and Estonian habitus, the actors sometimes became frustrated.


The cheese and cracker event is a typical example of one way Norwegian business people utilized Norwegian networks in Tallinn. At the meeting Hallvard and Geir shared experiences of life in Tallinn, maybe gave each other some tips on how to do business or how to cope with Tallinn in general, and most definitely discussed the shortcomings of Estonians. Gossip is a common characteristic of Norwegian business networks in Tallinn. The Norwegian business environment in Tallinn was a small, transparent and closely knit social network, where the business people mostly knew each other or at least knew about each other via the gossip that ran through the network.

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The main empirical focus throughout this thesis will be on cross-cultural cooperation between actors on the management level in Norwegian companies situated and registered in Tallinn but with Norwegian origin (see appendix 1 for a list of companies and individual descriptions). In all of the firms the management level included both Estonians and Norwegians. It consisted of Presidents, Managing Directors, Project Managers, secretaries and translators. Formally, there existed an agreement between the Estonian and the Norwegian partners on the terms for their cooperation. Both acknowledged that they took part in Western commercial business activities. There was general agreement on the global ideology of business. But as we shall see below, there was not agreement on how to «do business» in practice(4). These divergencies between ideology and practice could cause frustrations on both sides and even economic loss. My goal is therefore, first, to describe the ideological discourse about business that Norwegian and Estonian business people participated in, and secondly, to discuss how the business people related to the global ideology of business through practical cooperation.


Hinrichs, thus, constructs a straw man and launches an assault on that straw man’s views – not on mine. To be sure, he is not alone in this; a small cottage industry has emerged in which the same forms of intellectual laziness are practiced and the same weird statements are being loudly voiced. One shall forgive me for not attaching too much weight to them: if one wishes to engage me in a dialogue, let it be about what I did write, not about what the views of others wrongly ascribed to me. Which brings me to a second issue.

Among the Nordic countries Finland has made the largest investments in Estonia. But Sweden and Denmark are also well represented. Norway, with traditions in export of raw materials like oil and fish, rather than trade outside its borders, is only represented with few and mainly relatively minor companies (see Chapter Three and Appendix One).


The Norwegian President (in his mid-forties) of a consulting firm and his Estonian Project Manager (in her early twenties) went to a bank meeting for a loan application and I was allowed to be present. The Norwegian President said that it would be nice for a change to have someone there who was familiar with the «Norwegian way of thinking». The Norwegian firm and the owners of an old apartment building in the Old Town of Tallinn had drawn up a rental agreement. The Norwegian firm had formulated a business plan and taken the initiative for a project involving many of the other Norwegian business people in Tallinn. The plan was to rent the building and convert it into a "Scandinavian Center". The building would house a Danish store, a workroom for visiting Scandinavian artists, office space for Scandinavian businesses in Tallinn, and offer penthouse flats for rent. The apartment building was in need of renovation and the "Scandinavian Center " project was willing to undertake this task. The capital stock alone did not cover the full costs of the rent and the renovation, and the loan was supposed to finance the remaining expenses. The other participants in the meeting were an Estonian bank employee in his mid-twenties and an Estonian representative of the owners of the apartment building (in his late forties).

One example of how my knowledge developed was my view of the Estonians. At first I thought they seemed open-minded and happy. Even though the people I observed in the streets did not smile much, I assumed that they were generally satisfied with their situation. But as time passed, and I became closer to people and they started to trust me, my initial impressions were altered. I realized that Estonians often behaved differently in the presence of people from the West. They cracked jokes, greeted people loudly and seemed happy and optimistic. However, if there were only Estonians in a room the atmosphere changed and people talked and smiled less. At first I interpreted this as a Nordic temperament similar to how Norwegians will not utter a word to each other on a bus. Then I stumbled on a well-known Estonian proverb (see Chapter Two): «The favorite food of an Estonian is another Estonian». I started to view Tallinn as a competitive society.


One of the stories which circulated among the Western crowd in Tallinn was a horror story of an American businessman who had to jump out of window in order to avoid two Russian gangsters. This is how the story was told to me: The American had been drinking at a popular bar among the Westerner crowd in Tallinn. He made friends, or so he thought, with two Russian men. They talked about music and found out that the American had some CDs that the two Russians were interested in borrowing. When the bar closed, the American invited the two men up to his apartment to look at his CD collection. Once in the apartment the two men attacked the American. He managed to crawl into the bathroom and lock the door. While in the bathroom, he could hear the two men discussing how to kill him. He decided to jump out of his bathroom window, which was on the third floor. Both his arms and legs were crushed in the fall.

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This only partly reflected historical facts. There were mostly foreigners who held privileges in Estonia during these historical epochs. One example is that only foreigners were allowed to study at the University of Tartu during Swedish rule.

Proximity to the source case is also a determinant of transmission. Related to this is overcrowding: if, as a result of there being many people in a room, an individual is forced into close proximity with an infectious case his or her risk of infection is likely to increase.


At least two dynamics of globalization (browse around these guys) can be identified within the deterritorialized world. There exists a world-wide flow of images through, for example, commercials, television and the Internet and a world-wide flow of capital and commodities through international transactions and stock exchanges. These are flows which are initiated and manifested by people, but do not necessarily involve direct human contact transnationally or have a fixed center. The other main dynamic involves a flow of people and involves direct encounters. These are people like tourists, immigrants and business people who for various reasons move around in the world. They may be air hostesses or exchange students, but together they form a fluctuating global world of interpersonal contacts. This distinction between two separate flows with separate characteristics within the global dynamics is, of course, analytical. Global processes always include both human contact and a disassociation from place: the flow of people to and fro between Western and Eastern Europe is a result of global political processes, and global Coca Cola commercials would not be made unless they influenced local consumers to buy the soft drink. The difference between these two spheres is that one is constituted of people and involves direct, personal encounters in real, local settings, while the other can influence localities without the actors ever being physically present. Though different, both dynamics involve the communication and transfer of ideological concepts and enable communication between people and a sense of shared global cultures.

It was Foucault’s massive contribution to theories of power that he showed how, in the power systems of Modernity, we ultimately police ourselves. The distributed and infinitely fractal nature of power (as normative regulation of everyday life) begins and ends with the modern individual him/herself, incorporating and enacting normative and evaluative expectations in every instance of social behavior. The norms we find “natural” ans “self-evident” as instruments for smooth social interaction (as Durkheim sketched them), Foucault insists, are at the core of the modern system of power.


The process of doing fieldwork was one of personal satisfaction. Prior to my stay in Tallinn I had produced a project proposal and applied for financial support. The project was my idea and I established my own contacts and prepared every detail myself. During fieldwork I had a strong sense of carrying out something which I had planned, and thus of living up to my own expectations. During fieldwork, it felt as if I was learning something new every day, as both Estonia and the business environments were new and exciting. But I was unprepared for my return to Norway. It was a disappointment to learn that my fieldnotes and interviews, which had demanded such hard work, did not immediately provide the means to retell what I had experienced, to my supervisor, friends, or in a thesis. The understanding, which I believed to have acquired on the plane home from Tallinn, was soon reduced to a feeling that the only thing I could truly say about my fieldwork, was: «I don't know what it was, but something smelled funny».

We have, for instance, witnessed a phenomenal expansion of the wage-labor population over the past half century, and this process largely went hand in hand with the growth of superdiverse megacities around the world. This high-scale process triggered several others. It triggered a crisis in energy consumption and, inextricably related to this, in pollution and surplus waste production, as well as in the growth of a huge informal economy and a global increase of exploitation and inequality alongside wealth accumulation and extraction. Eriksen’s well-chosen ethnographic vignettes demonstrate how people around the world have to find ways – usually new ways – to manoeuver the complexities of everyday life economically, socially and culturally, in a continuous but nonlinear and often paradoxical loop between local needs and higher-scale constraints and affordances. Previously well-functioning methods have ceased to be useful, and trusted systems of authority and sociopolitical equilibrium have equally expired as valid problem solvers.


The first Norwegian business people came to Tallinn in 1989. One of the businessmen who arrived early was «Frank» (fictive name), who a few years later, when it became legal to form Estonian companies with foreign ownership, established his own firm. Frank had a background in a business experience from Russia. He went to Moscow, in the early years of the Glasnost period, with the intention of selling and repairing vacuum cleaners. He was asked to give a price estimate on the repair of a stock of vacuum cleaners by business associates he established contact with in Russia. Frank made the estimate in Norway and returned to Moscow to present it to his new Russian partners. Once back in Russia he never saw the men he had established contact with during their first trip, but were met by people with whom he was unacquainted. This incident made him feel uncertain and he returned to Norway.

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She described the Estonian participants as well dressed and the atmosphere as quiet and formal. When the speaker arrived this changed. He was an American wearing a T-shirt, and kept a joking and informal style. She said that the Estonians laughed politely, but added that she had been very surprised by the American's behavior, and felt very uncomfortable. Another place where this subtle, secretive, and somewhat formal aspect of Estonian business habitus can be seen is in marketing and commercials. Once I visited Tallinn right before Christmas, and was struck by the style of the Christmas decorations. In the show window of an Estonian (not Western) shopping center a small fairy-tale castle had been set up. The details were impressive and the display was obviously put together thoroughly and with care. A princess, maybe Cinderella, was standing in front of the castle, dressed in a beautiful evening gown, nicely shaped by a crinoline. Neither the princess nor the castle were for sale, they were there in order to create a Christmas mood and say something about the style of the shopping center. The impression was one style, beauty and formality and the decoration was much less glaring than for example Norwegian Christmas decorations.

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The main bulk of the firms I studied in Tallinn in the spring of 1996 were established in 1992-1993. When I returned to Tallinn, in November 1996, three out of the twelve firms had been terminated or suffered bankruptcy. Six months later two additional firms left the country.


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A popular story which almost all of my informants knew a version of was about the establishment of the first branch of Statoil in Tallinn and how they bought their first building plot. Almost every Norwegian business person in Tallinn took credit for pulling through the deal. Apparently the General Manager of Statoil had nothing to do with it. The stories which were told about this man were incredible. He supposedly had his personal supply of drinking water shipped from Sweden, he was patronizing towards the Estonians and made enemies with the mayor of Tallinn so the company was initially denied a building plot. All the stories about his womanizing cannot be retold in this context. The factual basis of these stories was probably very weak. The point is rather that this and other stories were frequently mentioned and commented on among both Estonian and Norwegian business people. When I returned to Tallinn three months after the end of my fieldwork I was immediately informed by both Norwegians and Estonians of the current gossip.

The 'store company' was also involved in a number of other projects besides the establishing of stores. They arranged Estonian language courses for their Russian employees, arranged a trade fair for Norwegian producers and were involved in sending an Estonian choir to Norway. Apart from the language courses which cannot be termed a business venture, as they were non-profit, all of these projects failed. At one point the Norwegian representative in Tallinn suggested to his secretary that she should make an archive of unsuccessful projects. For the trade fair they invited Norwegian producers to one of the main hotels in Tallinn. They presented their goods to prospective customers in Estonia. The idea was that the company would function as a mediator between the Estonian customers and the Norwegian producers and sellers. Very few deals were struck as a result of the fair. One of the few deals that was made was between a Norwegian company based in Tallinn and a Norwegian exporter. The parties met at the trade fair, but the deal was made independently of the organizers of the fair.


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This example illustrates different Estonian and Norwegian ways of viewing friendship. Eric R. Wolf 's contrasting of emotional and instrumental friendship is similar to the differences between Norwegian and Estonian attitudes towards friendship (Wolf 1966). Emotional friendships are characterized by affection in personal relationships between two friends and is similar to the Norwegian way of regarding friendship. Instrumental friendships, in contrast, are described as relationships which in effect reach further than the dyad and connects the actors to other people: «Each participant is a sponsor for the other» (Wolf 1966:12). In the example above the Estonian found it natural to give and receive favors from his friends. The Norwegian, on the other hand, viewed friendships first and foremost as a personal relation and not as a relation that could be used to obtain services. He was afraid that other people and his friend would believe that he abused their friendship by letting him paint his house, and involving the Estonian's friends would be even more questionable. But instrumental friendships have a long tradition in Estonia and the former Soviet Union. Informal contact and extensive networks were important in order to obtain goods and information during the Soviet period.

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After a while the banker wanted to check the credentials of the Norwegian man's company and the new joint-stock company which had been formed by several of the Norwegian business people in Tallinn. He especially asked questions about the financial reliability of the individual companies which formed the new joint-stock company. This clearly annoyed the Norwegian businessman who replied shortly that all of the companies were stable and trustworthy. He added that the Norwegian Prime Minister was visiting Estonia soon and it would look good if this project was up and running by then. The banker just shrugged his shoulders.

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The company also tried to organize a concert in Norway for an Estonian choir during a large cultural event in Norway. The Norwegian company took the financial responsibility for the concert. They rented a large concert hall and advertised the event in Norway, organized the housing of the choir during their stay in Norway and solicited financing from sponsors both in Norway and Estonia. The main Estonian sponsor was the City of Tallinn. This project received a lot of public attention in Tallinn. The Estonian choir also took great care in their preparations for the trip. They even translated parts of their repertoire into Norwegian. Then, the project was canceled by the Norwegian company only three weeks before the planned concert. The official reason was a hotel strike in Norway. The Norwegian company claimed that very few people would come to the concert as a result of the hotel strike, since the festival relied on out-of-town visitors.


The Estonian business associate Geir was put in contact with used to work for a factory producing furniture in Tallinn and was familiar with the «furniture» market in Estonia. The two men met and discussed the Norwegian's problems. They liked each other and decided to take a chance, and started to discuss the possibility of buying a factory together a short while later. The Norwegian went back to Norway, but he called his new associate almost every day. The Estonian asked him to be patient. He explained that the bureaucratic system in Estonia was slow and difficult to understand for an outsider. He told me that he did not want to expose his Norwegian counterpart to this. He was used to handling the Estonian system. He eventually found a suitable factory in Tallinn which they bought together. In the meantime the Estonian and his family had visited the Norwegian in Norway and they had gotten to know each other.

The Norwegian business people who arrived in Tallinn between 1989-90 and 1996 were part of this process and their «scape» of activity was definitely characterized by disjunctures. One example of disjuncture between expectations and practice was when some of the Norwegian business people came to Tallinn because they saw it as a place which offered quick profit coupled with risk, which was different from the Norwegian business setting, but were surprised when business was done differently in Tallinn. Even though the Western press and politicians emphasized the willingness of the East to embrace capitalism, Western business people who came East quickly learned that practices do not necessarily accord with ideology. The ideas the Western actors had of «how one does business» frequently failed to match the way «business was done» in Eastern Europe. Something similar was experienced by the Eastern Europeans, whose expectations of how Western business was done often differed from the way the Westerners actually «did business». This was often confusing for them, since they from the outset had assumed that Westerners would know how to «do business».


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The business people thus had concrete ideas of how Eastern and Western Europeans would «do business». The Norwegians had ideas of how the communist past had affected their Estonian business associates' way of «doing business». They believed that the Estonians lacked business initiative and that they were committed to a bureaucratic management style, as a consequence of their Soviet history. Many Estonians, on the other hand, said that they expected Western and Norwegian business people to run their businesses with a focused drive towards financial profit through the running of calculated risks. There were, however, conflicts between these expectations and the actual business habitus held by the Norwegian and Estonian business people. Contrary to Estonian belief, Norwegian business people valued social justice and equality in the running of a business and were often unsuccessful in initiating progressive business plans. This made the Norwegians look somewhat naive in the eyes of Estonian business people. The Estonians surprised the Norwegian business people with their competitive business drive rather than being restricted in «doing business» because of a Communist past. Some of the expectations were also confirmed through practice. The Estonians' formal and distanced attitude could be interpreted as a result of life under authoritarian rule, while in fact it is possible that the behavior was meant as politeness.

The Estonians were showing respect for their boss by standing up whenever he entered the office. The Norwegian was not used to this, and I am sure that the Estonians must have felt similarly insecure and uncomfortable when they understood that this was not the kind of behavior that was expected of them. Having worked as a secretary in Norway I know that Norwegian leaders may expect you to make coffee, empty their garbage and order tables at restaurants for themselves and their family. But it is not unheard of that a boss would make his own coffee or sweep the floor. As we have seen, Norwegian business habitus tends to be «democratic» and «consensus-oriented». In management situations of the kind we are here discussing, these attitudes contribute to creating predictability and trust at the workplace. Thus, the very same qualities that discredited the Norwegians as risk-taking entrepreneurs, made them appear as responsible and committed managers. In both cases, the same local habitus is measured against the standards of the same global business ideology. It is the setting; the type of business being «done», that differs, and that makes the Norwegians' performance seem completely inadequate in the first case, and perfectly appropriate in the other.


I am aware of these issues, have reflected on them over and over again, and came across the bitter irony of contemporary realities. Customary ethical codes for research presuppose a particular socio-political environment in which everyone has a name, an administrative existence, a recognizable and recognised subjectivity that demands respect and distance. We can only use a pseudonym when people’s real names are known and when knowledge and possession of that name is connected to inalienable rights, to subjectivity and, consequently, to norms that separate the public from the private sphere. Underlying is the image of a fully integrated Modern society in which such elementary features are attached to everyone and recorded – officially – somewhere.

Apart from basic services – calls and SMS – the providers all offer mobile Internet services. These Internet services, however, are used by only a small minority of mobile phone subscribers. According to the business newspaper The Citizen in January 2021, about 11% of the Tanzanian population have access to Internet, 45% of whom – around 2 million – use mobile internet. Internet subscriptions – compared to basic mobile phone services – are still very expensive: an average domestic (landline) subscription from TTCL in Dar es Salaam cost 100,000Tsh (around 50 Euro) per month in September 2021.


Number 12 ran a printing press in Tallinn. It was a joint venture project between a Norwegian and an Estonian which was established in 1993. They each owned 48% of the shares in the company. The remaining shares were divided among the workers. The Norwegian owner of the company runs his own printing press in Norway and the Estonian owner used to work for a state owned printing press in Soviet Estonia. The two men met in Norway when the Estonian owner visited Norway to see how printing presses were run in Europe. The Norwegian owner of the company had connections in Estonia as he had been involved in the shipment of humanitarian aid to Estonia. The Estonian owner bought a printing press in Tallinn and invited his Norwegian friend to join him.

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She also explained that her boss never told her what really went on in the office: "He never tells me anything. Important issues are discussed in Norwegian in private meetings or on the phone". He speaks Norwegian on the phone as well as with his Norwegian business partners. This made it hard for her to get an understanding of how the business was run and thus to perform satisfactorily for the company. The secretary of the company told me that the Project manager and the President communicated through her. She delivered their messages to each other. The Project manager would call her and ask her to tell the President so and so and vice versa.


The Norwegian companies in Tallinn were, as mentioned earlier, mainly very small. The Norwegian leaders were in most instances the same persons who had started the businesses and had determined the firms' objectives or lack of objectives. The leader's personal style of authority was therefore more far-reaching and influential than one would expect in a larger business. The President of this firm had established his company on his own, from scratch, and was heavily involved in every part of the running of his business.

Examples of the latter category range from formal procedures for drawing up contracts, to standards of what constitutes a valid and trustworthy argument. The existence of such generally accepted rules, makes the misunderstandings and divergent behavior among the participants in the business meeting described above seem particularly surprising, both to the onlooker and to the actors themselves. It is surprising that the Project Manager excluded her boss from the conversation. The only thing she seemingly stood to gain from this was to undermine the authority of her boss and the company she worked for. It also seems strange that the banker immediately accepted her behavior, since he did not know the Norwegian President, and had no a priori reason to distrust him. After all, he was a man, had a Western background, and represented an ambitious and innovative business venture. He also represented a Western business culture that Estonian business people admire. And finally, it is very surprising that the Norwegian President did not intervene in the situation and force his employee to interpret the Estonian conversations, as they had agreed.


Some of these stories are rooted in reality, but their meaning is generated through their use in discourse. The stories are utilized not only as a way of coping with the difficulties of living in Tallinn and dealing with fear, but also as a way of reinforcing the myth of Tallinn as a challenging place for a Western person to be and to «do business». Thus the myths of Tallinn may be utilized as explanations for some of the problems Norwegian and Western business people experience in Estonia. The stories also function to personify the experiences of Tallinn. When a Norwegian business person (or anthropology student) tells or relates to the stories, they mediate the difference between themselves and the Estonians. The Estonians are «less developed» and live in an unstable country as opposed to the stable and civilized West. They are also saying that they are brave individuals who are able to master life in Tallinn. The Estonian author Viivi Luik describes, in her novel Ajaloo ilu (The Beauty of History), how the scare of being summoned for interrogation during Soviet times sounded both impressive and indeterminable (Luik 1994:61). She presents the uncertainty of not knowing when or for what reasons one could be summoned, but the certainty of knowing that there existed a threat, that was mystical, scary, impressive and real at the same time. Similarly the scare of corruption, violence and the Mafia today generates stories which might be based in reality, but mostly support the idea of Tallinn as a barbaric and wild place.

To be fair, the task is challenging, for sociolinguistics quite consistently relied on a particular imagination of spacetime in analysis and theory. Such spacetimes were ‘local’, meaning: they were enclosed and autonomous, allowing the analysis of clear sociolinguistic patterns within the specific spacetime unit – the neighborhood, the village, the city, the region, the nation-state. This imagination of the ‘local’ provided clarity for another key concept: the speech community (cf.


Michel Foucault’s course of lectures at the Collège de France in 1974-1975 was devoted to the theme of “Abnormal”. The edited version of these lectures offers one of the richest analyses of the genesis of the modern individual as an effect of power – a new system of power revolving around norms and enacted by a wide range of actors, from the Law through the family doctor to the family. In this new form of power, risk is the central given, and the body is the focus. The body is the seat of our instincts and, when out of control, may turn us (any and all of us) into a monster. The body, thus, becomes gradually “readable” as an index of character, of who you are. And families are charged, under the guise of “educating” their children”, with the care of the bodies of their children, who gradually should become people whose bodies are “healthy” and, hence, “normal”.

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The word business will be used in its emic and ambiguous sense - as my informants used it. When business is referred to in its general meaning or as business ideology it will be written without quotation marks. «Business» will be written with quotation marks when it refers to the practical act of «doing business».


They do not know how to plan for the future. Mortgage and student loans are unknown and unthinkable to them. During the Soviet times they filled out forms and handed them over to someone else. Now they have to take responsibility and make decisions.

The company was established by its Norwegian President in 1991, who came to Tallinn in 1989. He came to Tallinn by chance as he was challenged by a friend. Company number 5 was a consulting firm which specialized on mediating business deals between Novgorod, Tallinn and Bergen. In addition, the company was involved in several other projects. An Estonian woman was hired as the Managing Director. The company' s secretary was an Estonian woman. Towards the end of my fieldwork the company took over the managing of a Tallinn based company producing containers. The secretary followed the company.


The Estonian banker probably observed this latter behavior and wondered at it. The fact that the Norwegian did not manage to control his employee must have been disquieting. The banker probably interpreted this lack of control as unprofessional, and indicating lack of commitment to the project. Such a man cannot be trusted off hand. Even though the Project Manager was a woman, and even though she was not exactly acting «professional» herself, he may have chosen to trust her as a fellow Estonian, whose commitment to Estonian business he could at least take for granted. The banker would be strengthened in his conclusions by the knowledge that many Estonian business people have had negative experiences with Western business adventurers. And after all, as the previous case showed, Estonians tend to calculate their risks.

For the first time in human history, the vast majority of the world's population is connected through trade, travel, production, media and politics. Ours is an era of ubiquitous mobile communication, economic outsourcing, mass migration and imported consumer goods. At the same time, people everywhere are concerned to keep their identities rooted and sense of place in the face of momentous change.


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This means that the flows of people, images, ideas, money, and machinery tend to manifest themselves in incompatible combinations. Appadurai mentions as an example the Japanese who are open to import and export of goods, but oppose the idea of immigration (Appadurai 1990:301). We should expect cross-cultural business people, operating on the disjuncture between ideoscape and finanscape, to exhibit similar breaches of logic.

The President used the drinking problem of his Personnel Manager as an example of how he had taught one of his employees to take responsibility. He now described him as a very good Personnel Manager and an excellent translator. He went on to say that it had taken a long time before his secretary was promoted to Vice Director. In the beginning she was unwilling to make decisions on her own. Now she was involved in literally every aspect of the business and ready to start her own business, according to the President.


The most difficult part of writing a thesis is in many ways accounting for the methodological aspects of the project. Even though it has been two years since I returned from Tallinn, when I am writing this, the fieldwork experiences still have the power to overwhelm me. The fieldwork in itself was intense because of a tight time schedule and a large workload, but also very demanding emotionally. The sum of these factors intensified everything that happened during my stay in Tallinn. It is thus difficult to distance myself from the six months the fieldwork lasted and try to retell the story as it really was.

«Economic Spheres in Darfur» in Process and form in social life. Selected essays of Fredrik Barth, Volume 1, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.


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An Estonian businessman told me a story about how he had once visited his Norwegian business partner and friend in Norway together with some of his Estonian friends. The Norwegian was painting his house when they arrived. They offered to paint the house for him for free. The Norwegian refused the offer because he said that the neighbors might think that he was abusing their friendship by getting free labor. The Estonians did not understand this. The Estonian man said that Estonians always offered favors to their friends. This functioned as a give and take relationship.

Finanscapes involve the complex nature and form of global capital influenced by stock exchanges, currency markets, multi-national companies, national financial policies, the movement of business people, etc. Political images, often connected to nation states or opponents of national policies, are the main contents of Appadurai's ideoscapes. Ideoscapes constitute a fluid discourse on terms such as 'freedom', 'democracy', 'human rights', 'dictatorship', 'power' etc. I shall not discuss Appadurai's «scapes» much further in the following. I will use them to define the empirical focus of this thesis, which will be on what I have chosen to call businesscapes, which exist in the intersection between finanscapes and ideoscapes, between the practice of «doing business» and the ideological discourses concerning how to do business.


Norwegian business people come from a cultural business context considered to be Western and capitalistic, even though Norway (population 4 million) has a social-democratic system of government(2)that is often referred to as the «third way» (Hill 1993:177) and thus has a quite extensively planned economy. Norway is also one of the few countries in Western Europe, together with Iceland, Luxembourg and Switzerland, which has chosen to stay out of the European Union (EU). After the discovery of the North-Sea oil deposits, Norway has also become one of the richest countries in the Western world. Estonia, in contrast, is a former Soviet national republic which is now adapting to independent nationhood and a market economy. Estonia's national policy is based on a strong free market orientation including low public subsidies and liberal laws on the import and export of goods. The country, as the first of the Baltic states, has started membership negotiations with EU. While Estonia was part of the Soviet Union, poverty as a social phenomenon was nearly unknown, although scarcity was virtually omnipresent. The radical changes towards a market economy after liberation have on the one hand brought forward desired changes such as free travel, access to a variety of goods and freedom of the press. The termination of national subsidies, inflation and unemployment were, on the other hand, some of the negative factors of the reforms. The income level for many Estonians has been reduced after independence. A report worked out by the Norwegian research institute Fafo concludes that ten percent of the Estonian population was living below the subsistence minimum in 1995 (Grøgaard 1996:127-129).

«Kort om hvordan ikke komme til kort i Russland» in Rapport fra temadagen 4. mars 1997. Næringslivets kunnskapsbehov i russiske nordområder, Oslo: Fritjof Nansens Institutt.


Key Concepts and Major Debates

The quality of such data, naturally, heavily depends on the reliability of the information provided by users in their social media activities. And this is where the identity essentialism mentioned above enters the picture.

One of the issues the Personnel Manager and his boss had different views on was posing questions. The Personnel Manager was surprised when it became clear that he was expected to ask for help whenever he needed it, as he was used to solving problems independently of his boss. From my data it seems that this was common among Estonian employees. There even appeared to be resentment towards discussing problems with their employers. Both a Norwegian and an Estonian told me on different occasions that Estonians feel that it is better to be quiet instead of saying something and risking making a fool of oneself. The Personnel Manager did not want to bother his boss with his problems. This behavior may have been an expression of the competitive and calculating aspects of Estonian mentality, that we have previously mentioned. It might also indicate a reluctance to attract the attention of your superiors, since power is viewed as fundamentally unpredictable. The Estonians might believe that if you revealed your problems, or weaknesses to your superiors, they might use it against you. In this sense people with power cannot be trusted, as they potentially can use what they know about you to strengthen their own position.


Their Tallinn office consisted of two Estonian women in their forties: the Director and the Project Manager. The Norwegian Chairman of the Board and the Managing Director of the Norwegian branch visited Tallinn and the production sites regularly and worked closely with their Estonian partners. Company 1 was established in the early 1990s. The establishing of the company in Estonia was not a coincidence. The father of the Norwegian Chairman of the Board was the first Norwegian counsel to Estonia between the two World Wars, and this created an initial interest for the country.

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Business stunts can be characterized as dangerous, daring, original and flamboyant actions which are often performed on the spur of the moment. They offer chances of considerable profit as the stakes are high and the projects normally require minimal planning. Stunts may therefore be tempting for small and marginal businesses such as the Norwegian-Estonian companies. These firms have limited financial resources and limited human capital to plan their projects (as opposed to Statoil and Coca Cola, which do not perform business stunts). A stunt, however, does not need planning and, if successful, gives profit. Business activity in Norway can be described as predictable and routine rather than dangerous and daring. Tallinn can apparently offer more excitement within business than for example Oslo, and the prospect of a place suitable for business stunts may be one factor that attracts a certain category of Norwegian business people to Tallinn. Webster's Dictionary also describes a stunt as an action which is often meant to attract attention (Webster's 1989:1411). If a stunt is sufficiently original it may pay off financially and because of the high profile of many stunts, the success will be duly noted. A failure will be similarly visible.

The business people expected me to be well prepared and to know exactly what I wanted to ask about, when I came to see them. I therefore made an interview guide (see Appendix Two), which I changed a number of times during my fieldwork, and I conducted 37 formal and informal interviews. I was not sufficiently prepared, or even qualified to conduct ethnographic interviews, although I had made a rudimentary interview guide before I left Norway. I found formal interviewing very difficult. It was a part of my fieldwork which I was not prepared for, I did not even suspect that I would be conducting such interviews. I had gained the mistaken impression that anthropologists rely on data collected from participant observation alone. So I was forced to learn interview techniques in the course of my fieldwork, and I am certain that many of my initial mistakes could have been avoided if I had been familiar with a few basic techniques beforehand. The interviews themselves were often a peculiar experience, where I tried to persuade the informants to talk as much as possible, whereas they believed that I had thoroughly considered questions which they tried to answer to the best of their ability. I would ideally have avoided posing any questions at all. I sometimes felt that I was presented with answers to things I had decided were significant beforehand, and thus missed important information.


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An Estonian friend invited me home for dinner. Over dessert she had told me that her daughter was very interested in studying dance abroad and that she wanted me to check the possibilities in Norway. Another friend frequently borrowed money. She never asked for large amounts, but it happened repeatedly and she rarely paid me back. After I left Tallinn, I received an inquiry about selling containers of Estonian fish to the Norwegian market from a woman I considered my close friend during fieldwork. The incidents where I did people favors, did not bother me the most. The worst part was when I needed someone to confide in and turned to someone I had previously listened to, and they merely responded that I was from Norway where everything was fine so what could possibly be troubling me (Estonians even have a proverb «Korras nagu norras», which means «good as in Norway»). Comments like this always shut me up. But I needed someone to talk to at times, as the intensity of the fieldwork experience, often lead to hypersensitivity. My feelings resembled a roller coaster (maybe it was a good thing that I did not share them with too many people). My day was perfect if I managed to get a new contact with someone within the business milieu or figured out details about how to buy buss passes.

The first part of the sentence is wrong, as I explained; the second one, about “the end of synchrony”, is again quite strange. What I mean by the end of synchrony is that an analysis of the kind I propose does not get anywhere when we employ the modernist-structuralist concept of language outlined above: a self-contained, singular, static and bounded set of forms and relations between forms that exist transcendently, detached from spacetime-situated practice. This modernist-structuralist concept, I have argued repeatedly, renders language fundamentally ahistorical – where “historical” is not reduced to chronology but refers to the plenitude and complexity of social practices situated in spacetime – in short, what people do in and with language, as I said at the outset. And yes, I could not have done much with such tools when I attempted to describe a concrete spacetime unit as a moving target.

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Hall uses the term 'high context society' to distinguish between cultural differences on a national level, this can easily be criticized by anthropologists. I am on the other hand using his terms on a small and local environment.


The Estonians held another agenda. They had to be more careful as they might risk their reputation in the city where they were going to keep «doing business» maybe for the rest of their lives. They knew the Estonian situation better than the Norwegians and had a more intimate knowledge of the local setting. They were therefore able to avoid needless risks far better, as the example of the Estonian «doing business» with Russians seems to show. More fundamentally still, they were strongly committed to building a local national identity at the same time as they were «doing business» and thus the results of their actions mattered in the society as a whole. As mentioned earlier Estonia's national policy favored a liberal democratic system of government. The emphasis on free trade, the improvement of business conditions, and in general, the achievement of economic growth in a classical, liberalistic sense, are tightly linked with Estonian national identity. Estonians are committed to their business because they need to uphold a reputation in Tallinn as good business people. But they are also strongly committed to the building of the Estonian nation in which commercial business plays an important role. The Norwegians on the other hand, normally spend a limited time in Tallinn and their agendas for doing business are mostly personal, although they were influenced by the general Western attitudes towards Eastern Europe.

The drinking incident illustrates one of the ways responsibility has changed after independence. During the Soviet period the workers might feel responsible towards one another, but since jobs were not scarce and the task of the organization was often decided centrally, the sense of personal responsibility towards the running of the organization was weak. Vladimir Bukovsky (Bukovsky 1979) describes how one of the workers in a Soviet bus factory (in Russia during the Soviet Times) tried to put in a full day's work, but was hindered by his colleagues. They disliked him for raising the production targets and tried to damage his tools whenever they got a chance. This does not mean that there existed no sense of responsibility at Soviet workplaces. Soviet managers were, however, under constant pressure from central authorities whose decisions might often seem arbitrary and predictable. This created a pervasive atmosphere of insecurity at workplaces. In contrast, when working for a Western firm the employees were hired because of their specific qualifications and failing to perform as expected would jeopardize their position. Many Estonians I talked to during fieldwork, felt that they were now given more freedom in their jobs, and that this increased the amount of responsibility expected of them. The Personnel Manager definitively was committed to his job in a way that he had not been before.


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Towards the end of my stay in Tallinn I was asked in an interview with the school paper at TTÜ if I missed anything in Tallinn. I answered without hesitation that I missed smiles in the streets and satisfied and secure people. The Estonian interviewer agreed. In contrast to the smells, which I noticed immediately and forgot soon, it took longer to see Tallinn as a place where smiles were few and the daily grind was difficult to cope with for many people, because the surface seemed without problems.

Both the Norwegian and the Estonian were committed to a global ideology of business. The Estonian wanted to perform according to what he saw as the ideal of a business person and expected the same from the Norwegian businessman. The Norwegian had similar intentions, and felt that he knew how to «do business». But both men failed to live up to the expectations of the other and during the meeting it became clear that they disagreed on how business should be done. The Estonian's distrust of the Norwegian threatened the Norwegian's definition of himself as a business person and similarly the Norwegian's failure to act according to the Estonian's expectations threatened the Estonian's understanding of business. The meeting thus became a negotiation of which of the two definitions of business should apply. In this case the Estonian was able to discredit the Norwegian completely and prevent his entrepreneurial initiative, because he had the power to deny him financial support. But to the Norwegian businessman the meeting also served as yet another example of how Estonians do not know how to «do business», as the banker failed to recognize his plans as a sound business project.


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His Estonian firm also provided general consultancy services, but their main task was the production of containers for the Western European market. Around thirty men worked in production, but the administration level of the company was relatively small. Two Estonians worked closely with the President to administer the company: one Estonian woman in her late thirties was hired as Vice President and an Estonian man in his early thirties worked as Personnel Manager. They have both worked together with their boss since 1991.

This list presents actual information about the Norwegian-Estonian companies in Tallinn at the time of my fieldwork. In the main text the companies are kept anonymous. In the list the company names are omitted, except in the case of the two largest companies with Norwegian involvement, because they are easily recognizable and because I do not base my arguments on information from these companies.


By Thomas Hylland Eriksen

But business, as a global discursive object, is more than the mere search for profit. The ideal business person is also a responsible agent. Max Weber, in his classical discussion of «The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism», described the connection between the search for profit and the emphasis on responsibility, as part of the foundation for the development of capitalistic society. Weber emphasizes that maintaining a cycle of profit is a long-term activity, which is impossible to engage in without long-term predictability in business relations (Weber 1981 ). Business ethics are one aspect of responsibility which are often focused on by the public. When business people act irresponsibly in order to gain profit, the press might react critically. But another and more fundamental aspect of responsibility is the responsibility business people have towards their business partners and their employees. In order to establish good business contacts one has to appear as a responsible business person. Appearances, including proper clothing and a representative office, are factors which initially indicate whether a firm or a business person is trustworthy. But reputation, based on whether or not one has in fact fulfilled one's commitments in previous business relations, whether one pays back loans, delivers goods on time, is scrupulously discrete in dealing with third parties, etc, plays a much more fundamental role in the long run. In the early stages of cross-cultural business cooperation, we might expect problems of responsibility to be endemic, since the parties have poor access to information about the reputation of prospective partners.

Pessimist view of globalisation

Swahili (in a range of varieties) was already relatively widespread in the country at the time of independence, and its adoption as national language, to be used in almost every official domain, made it into a language the hegemonic position of which as ‘the language of everyone’ remained uncontested for decades. There was one crack in that hegemony though. English was not entirely eliminated; it was kept as the language of instruction of post-primary education. The reasons for this language-political anomaly are complex, and officially the argument was that Swahili needed, first, to be ‘developed’ to cope with the demands of scientific thought and progress. Concretely, this meant vocabulary development – a Sisyphean process not helped by a byzantine structure of official ratification. Pending the completion of that task, English remained the language of the – very small – national intelligentsia, as access to standard forms of English was almost entirely dependent on access (through demanding state exams) to secondary and tertiary education. And in that way, it retained covert prestige – a lot of prestige.


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A network is a «reservoir of social relations through which [an actor] recruits support to counter his rivals and mobilizes support to attain his goals» (Boissevain 1974:25). Networks in business can make it easier to make deals, they can function as sources of information, places to get favors, as safety nets, and minimize risk. Business networks can also function as instruments for preventing competitors from getting favorable deals, through for example spreading negative rumors about a person or a firm and can open or close access to niches. Responsibility and trust are important in the formation of and maintaining of business networks. One of the reasons for building good networks is to get in touch with responsible key figures in the business environment. If this is accomplished one can get access to useful information about the market and relevant actors through the network. In order to maintain one's relationship to contacts within networks, one has to come across as trustworthy and be able to offer favors, thus showing in practice that one is reliable. Networks are often informal and much of what goes on in them is not meant for public consumption. The aspect of trust is thus also important in this respect.

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When I asked the business people if they hoped that their specific project was significant for the development of Estonia, two quotes cover most of the answers: «One is not sentimental when it comes to money» and «That is not my task, but of course it is satisfying if you can create jobs». These attitudes, however, were only partially reflected in actual practice. A number of the Norwegian businesses were involved in idealistic projects, such as the organization of aid from Norway to Estonia and the organization of language courses for Russians. Only three of the companies had received funding from the Norwegian Action Program for Eastern Europe. Some would even criticize aid programs in general on the basis that the programs were out of touch with the actual situation for Western businesses in Tallinn. None of the business people would emphasize the insecurity or adventurous aspects of Tallinn as the main attraction for themselves. But they would often use this aspect as an explanation for other business people's presence in Tallinn. Contrary to how they described themselves, I will portray them as bold business people attracted by adventure as well as a group of people who were versatile and many-sided in their business careers.

Hege Aasbø (following Michel Foucault), states in her thesis on discourse concerning the preservation of cultural monuments in Zanzibar that discourse is a very large-scale «discussion» which is separated from time and place and consists of verbal statements, written texts and actions (Aasbø 1997:8-9). Foucault points out that this discussion creates «discursive objects» (Foucault 1972). Discursive objects can be explained as reified themes around which the discussions center. The discursive objects are treated by the partners of the discussion as if they were objective «things». Foucault's example is the discourse on sexuality in psychology and in the wider public in the nineteenth century, which created sexuality as an object of discourse which is now part of our «reality». This thesis will not attempt to give a historical account of how business became an object of discourse (though it is clear that its roots go back at least to the eighteenth century, see Jürgen Habermas 1962). I will merely point out that business today is an established discursive object which is part of our reality, while it is still being debated. The term discourse is not fixed to time and place and is therefore suitable to use on phenomena with both local and global reach. The discourse on business is manifested in local settings such as Tallinn or Oslo, while it is simultaneously part of an international discourse on business.


We begin to understand that such figures point towards an elite, even if the term is used with some degree of elasticity here. We also understand that this elite is concentrated in the large urban areas, if for no other reason because of the fact that Internet requires electricity. And when it comes to electricity, the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority of Tanzania warns us that “[w]ith about 660,000 customers, electricity was available to only about 11% of the population by [the] first quarter of 2007, with more than 80% supplied in the urban areas”. About 9 out of 10 Tanzanians have no access to a regular electricity supply, and that figure corresponds to more than 90% of the territory of the country. Access to the Internet is a rather exclusive feature of urban life in Tanzania, and new online-offline social space nexuses are confined to these areas.

Because of the dilution of infected air and the low concentration of infectious droplet nuclei, the duration of exposure required to ensure that transmission occurs is commonly prolonged (days, months or even years), and yet reports have confirmed that exposures as short as a few minutes may be sufficient to infect a close contact. The latter would appear to be supported by the high proportion of active cases that deny any history of exposure.


Thus, an American businessman stationed in Tallinn, who read one of the cases presented in Chapter Four of this thesis, frowned and said that «No real businessman would do business in this way», when he read that a Norwegian businessman had agreed to own only 48% of the shares in his Estonian company. Again, the objectivity of the judgment expressed in this statement may be emphasized, and may well be valid, from a purely professional point of view. But the statement is also a contribution to a discourse that goes much further than this. Thus, an advertisement for a Hong Kong bank in an international glossy magazine pictures two Asiatic businessmen sitting at a table eating with chopsticks and wearing Western-style dark suits. By the table we see an executive briefcase and the front of a Mercedes. The caption reads: «Everything has changed. Except the relationship, and the barbecued duck». One of the messages of this ad is simply that it is safe for Western business people to «do business» in Asia. It emphasizes cultural differences, such as the use of chopsticks, and the importance of personal relations in Asia, as opposed to the supposedly more formal character of «doing business» in the West. But the clue is that «Everything has changed».

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Tanzania was long an example of what sociolinguists preferred as ‘local’: a state even officially devoted to self-reliance, non-alignment and autonomy, with an unchallenged government and a population often imagined as Swahili-speaking monoglot. Within such an imagined enclosed and self-contained unit, sociolinguistic reflections followed simple tracks, usually revolving around ‘Swahili versus English’ in education – a topic that dominated the literature on Tanzania for decades. Below the surface of that imagined ‘locality’, however, several very different processes were at work. First, there was a great deal of variation within Swahili that was left unexplored even if it pointed towards existing and new inequalities within the imagined demotic sociolinguistic system. Second, there was the uneasy fact that most Tanzanians were not monolingual but at least bilingual, combining (varieties of) Swahili with (varieties of) ethnic languages. The latter were very rarely drawn into the equation in Tanzania. Third, even if English was an active resource in just small segments of Tanzanian society, it carried tremendous language-ideological weight as the language indexing everything that was foreign, smart, desirable and exclusive (and capitalist) – it was, in other words, the undisputed sociolinguistic marker of elite-status.

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It is assumed that differences in ‘home language’ are causally related to differences in learning outcomes in diverse populations. In Belgium, for instance, systematically reoccurring PISA-results indicating lower scores for ‘migrant’ learners are easily attributed to one ‘home language’ factor: the assumption that Dutch is not the ‘home language’ in many immigrant learners’ families. This point is correlated with, and in a self-confirming loop supported by, two other variables: the ‘level of education’ and ‘occupation’ of the parents of the learner.

As mentioned above, the business networks in Tallinn can provide local as well as Norwegian or other Western contacts, but the recommendation among both Norwegian and Estonian business people in Tallinn was to get a sound local contact. Business conditions in Tallinn and Estonia differ from the West in many ways and this makes local knowledge very important. The Estonians working with Norwegian business people described Norwegians in Tallinn as very naive and said that they trusted people too easily. Part of the reason for this was that the Norwegians lacked local expertise. Partly also, as we have seen above, their problems stemmed from their commitment to global business ideology as non-locals, which made them assume like the Norwegian man in the first case in Chapter Three, that they «knew how» to «do business» and did not need information. One example of this naiveté was when a woman called a Norwegian businessman in his hotel room. She wanted to meet him at 10 o'clock that evening and asked if this was fine with him, and he agreed. Two of his Estonian friends were with him while the lady called and asked if he really was going to meet her, since it was obvious to them that she was a prostitute offering her services. This had never even crossed the Norwegian's mind. One of the Norwegian companies that recognized the importance of local knowledge went to great lengths to not fire one of their Estonian employees who, in their judgment, was doing a very bad job.


In addition to the Western governments' official policy towards the East based on a will to change the societies through the application of liberal capitalist ideology, media and popular opinion stressed the importance of the West «helping» the East with know-how derived from the experience of living in the Western world. The «helping» attitude was at the same time a mixture of idealism and condescension on the Western behalf. One of the few exceptions to this tendency was an article written in a Danish newspaper in 1988, which focused on what Eastern Europe could offer Western Europe. The article claimed, among other things, that inspiring intellectual discussions going on within Eastern Europe could contribute to constructive critiques of the West (Sperling 1988:4). In the business arena the Western world could offer «help» in the form of hard currency, capital and commercial skills to the East, which was portrayed as a place with high productivity, skilled labor and low wages. In the early years after 1989 Norway was very positive towards interaction with the former Soviet Block. Environmental cooperation, cultural exchange, trade and commercial business were some of the main activities. Russia was seen as the most important partner in all respects, also when it came to business, but Estonia and the Baltic states were viewed as attractive markets for investment as well. Estonia and the Baltic states also valued Western investment highly.

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For on the one hand, the Norwegians seemed to assume that their experience of «doing business» in Norway would be sufficient background for «doing business» successfully in Tallinn. But on the other hand, as we saw in Chapter Two, one of the main reasons why they were attracted to Estonia in the first place was the Western image of Eastern Europe as a place that was very different from Norway, because it was a more risky place to «do business». The fact that these Norwegian business people sought a business setting which was different from Norway, implied that they desired changes. They wanted a fresh start and something new, but did not want business in itself to change. In practice, however, they seemed convinced that business is the same everywhere and that they knew how to «do business». The Norwegians were marginally committed in Tallinn, in the sense that if they took a risk, they mostly risked their own reputation and their own personal profit. If they failed they had a chance to move on or return to Norway where almost no one would be familiar with their mistakes.

The Ages of Globalization

The old town of Tallinn is today a mixture of historical architecture and new Western style restaurants and stores. It is a place where people seem to be constantly rushing somewhere to become rich fast. Women dress according to the newest European fashions and men in suits with mobile phones are a common sight. New stores and bars pop up almost every week and old ones suffer bankruptcy. People who have experienced the changes from communism to capitalism describe them as unbelievable. Estonia has in many ways gone from one extreme to another. Today only Hong Kong has more liberal trade regulations. The younger generation stresses the liberal, individualistic and competitive nature of their society, and expresses pride in Estonian national identity. The Estonian Finno-Ugric language, which is closely related to Finnish, is a distinctive national stamp which the Estonians take pride in. And it seems as if Estonia is on the right track, if they want to achieve what they term a 'Western standard'. The economy is growing fast, the local currency which is pegged to the German mark is strong and Tallinn has its own stock exchange.


Introduction to International Relations by Michael Cox

More concretely: when Spain welcomed 15 million holiday makers in 1979, critics already bemoaned the disastrous transformation of the Spanish costas; in 2021, the number of tourists had risen to 60 million, or 120% of the country’s population, with equivalent effects on not just the costas, but the entire country. A shift in scale is a qualitative shift, argues Eriksen, transforming the phenomena themselves, and not just a shift in numbers that leaves older fundamental structures intact.

Here we see another and somewhat subtler example of how poorly the Norwegians understood the Estonian situation they were «doing business» in. The Norwegian supervisor had expected that his knowledge about marketing from the West would apply in Tallinn. He was genuinely surprised when the Estonian workers did not understand the importance of his suggestions. But the Estonians may well have been aware of the importance of marketing, but had a different attitude towards how marketing should be done. One incident which was retold to me by one representative from the Estonian administration of the company in question may serve as an example of this. He said that he had seen one of the Norwegians offering free coffee to the public as a PR stunt. He described the Norwegian, when he was doing this, as acting «pushy» towards the customers in a positive sense of the word. He said that he could not imagine any Estonian offering free tastings in the same manner. He used this as an example of how differently Norwegians and Estonians view and react to marketing.


Political Science > Globalization

Even Norway, a country with considerable focus on high public spending which has only recently started to privatize a few national institutions, has based its official strategy towards Eastern Europe on private enterprises and liberal capitalism. Norway's main official response to the changes in the East was the establishment of the Action Program for Eastern Europe(8)by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1992.

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