Research Themes

Research themes of the research group "Legacies and Challenges of Ethnic Belonging – Contested Ethnopolitical Arenas in Finnish Sápmi"

1. The Cultural and Social Strategies in the Changing Sámi Society after the 1970s

An approach to the recent history of the Sámi society from the 1970s to the 2000s attempts to analyze the ethnopolitical history from a perspective of cultural and social strategies, reflected in Sámi politics, media, and artistic expressions. The question of inclusion and exclusion of ethnic belonging is relevant when describing the institutionalization of Sámi self-representations. The researchers are:

  • Prof. Veli-Pekka Lehtola: Artistic ethnopolitics? The role of artistic expressions in Sámi art from the 1970s to the 1990s, and the rupture in the 2000s.
  • MA Anna-Liisa Väyrynen: Drowned villages, reconstructed identities. An environmental crisis and survivance of the Sompio Sámi people.
  • MA Rauna Triumf: Traditional knowledge, transformation and duodji (Sámi handicraft).


2. The Challenges of Trans-cultural Encounters in Contested Ethnopolitical Arenas

The recent situation in the 2000s is analyzed in many sectors of the Sámi society, including the revitalization processes of small Sámi groups, such as the Inari Sámi; the Sámi education structures in the light of global human rights, and the transformation of Sámi traditions, such as kinship structures and ways to use natural resources. The question of reconstructing new belongings is very relevant here. The researchers are:

  • D. Soc. Sc. Anni-Siiri Länsman: Processes of change in Sámi kinship structures and meanings in the 2000s.
  • D. Ph. Marja-Liisa Olthuis: Reconstructions of new contact zones in Sámi-Finnish relations — the Inari Saami case.
  • M. Soc. Sc. Ulla Aikio-Puoskari: ”Even one dead language is too much”. Global human rights, Sámi education and Nordic states.
  • MA Päivi Magga: Contested Environmental Strategies in Finnish Sápmi.


3. Commodificating Traditional Sámi Culture as a part of Identity Policies

The modern Sámi identity is not only reflecting the traditions in transition, but e.g. the Sámi artists are also commodificating the traditions due to such institutions as Sámi festivals or even marketing. What kind of cultural and ethical aspects are involved in exploiting the collective tradition for individuals, and what kind of belongings are there to be discussed? The researchers are:

  • D. Ph. Marko Jouste: A consequence of modernization: revival of the traditional yoik. Towards an active consciousness of traditions and archives.
  • MA Annukka Hirvasvuopio-Laiti: Entrepreneurship and Sámi music festivals.
  • MA Sigga-Maria Magga: Duodji (Sámi handicraft) and modern Sámi design.
  • MA Eeva-Kristiina Harlin: Repatriation of Sámi cultural heritage

Last updated: 16.4.2013