Don’t Give Up

Why Sisu is Relevant for Wales

From Planet 245

by Neil Thompson and Paul Stepney

Neil Thompson and Paul Stepney argue why the age-old Finnish concept of sisu has much to offer policy-makers, social workers and citizens in Wales for creating a happier society ‒ and why this is not the same as victim-blaming narratives of ‘resilience’.

Wales has connections with many nations around the world, but Finland is not one that tends to feature strongly. However, there are links that can be drawn between the two countries. In particular, the Finnish concept of sisu is one that should have considerable resonance in Wales. As Welsh social policy becomes ever more distinct from England’s approach, largely but not exclusively because of the innovative nature of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014, sisu can be seen as a potentially useful concept in addressing Wales’s social welfare needs.

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About the author

Paul Stepney is an adjunct professor of Social Work, Tampere University, Finland.
Neil Thompson is an independent writer, educator and adviser and a visiting professor at the Open University.