Traditions as selected pasts

Next week, I’ll participate to the 32nd Nordic conference of Ethnology and Folkloristics in Bergen, Norway.

My paper Traditions as selected pasts investigates the use of the concept of ”tradition” in Sámi digital environments and as a label of practices within Sámi revitalization processes. The recurrence and abundance of the occurrence of the term in Sámi websites motivates my investigation, encouraged by the strong theoretical attachment of the concept in folkloristics (cf Noyes 2009, Bronner 2011).

Based on the study of Sámi produced websites, this paper examines how Sámi expressive culture online emphasizes the continuity of cultural aspects and particular aspects of the past in traditional settings in negotiation with the emergence of new practices and meanings. Folklore on the Internet is approached as hybrid practice, i.e. in relation and interplay with offline practices (cf Howard 2005). This study considers the processes behind what Jones calls the “symbolic construction of the past in the present for the future” (2000:116), achieved in this case by the selection and (re)creation of the past in the contemporary Sámi context of revitalization. The labeling of practices as traditional underscores continuity and articulates a historical past that legitimates discourses about identity and nationalism. Thus, this paper critically analyzes the implications and consequences of the uses of the concept of tradition.

My  presentation is part of a panel entitled History culture and selected past. I look forward to interesting papers and discussions!

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