Cooperation and Conflict in Sápmi

I will participate to the 33 Nordic Ethnology and Folklore Conference in Copenhagen 19-21 August, 2015 as panel convener and presenter. You’ll find below the abstract for the panel, and the program here.

Cooperation and Conflict in Sápmi. Research on Sámi struggle for cultural survival.

Marianne Liliequist, Professor in Ethnology, Department of Culture and Media Studies, Umeå University, Sweden.
Coppélie Cocq, PhD in Sámi Studies, Research Fellow at HUMlab, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.

This panel aims to bring together research on Sámi struggle for cultural survival, i.e. research that deal with strategies and initiatives going on in Sápmi today in a time of threats and challenges – a time that is also marked by resistance and mobilization. This struggle for cultural survival is characterized by both cooperation and conflict, among Sámi and between Sámi and other groups in the Sámi area.
Recently, the Swedish government has been criticized both by the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, and by the Swedish Discrimination Ombudsman for an insufficient legislation that failed at ensuring indigenous rights. This criticism was actualized by exploitations in the Sámi area, not least the mining boom that is not restricted to Sweden. Threats and challenges extend to other domains than land rights, for instance language endangerment, limits in participation to political decisions or lack of knowledge in the majority population that leads to misrepresentations and racism.
The objective of this panel is to investigate the tensions and strategies at play in Sápmi today in a context of revitalization and struggle for empowerment. We are particularly interested in studies that investigate contemporary initiatives and processes by Sámi groups in order to articulate resistance and conflict prevention. Our goal is also to problematize methodological and ethical questions in Sámi Studies from the perspective of indigenous methodologies. We welcome both theoretical contributions and case studies.


My paper is about Sámi languages in digital settings: redefining knowledge and expertise. 


The Sámi languages are often described as endangered, and their vulnerability is aggravated by the lack of resources when it comes to teachers and teaching materials. If this description is accurate, it does however disregard community-based initiatives that grow exponentially in many areas in Sápmi.
This paper examines the production of knowledge about Sámi languages through several examples of efforts independent of formal educational frames. Digital initiatives from the Sámi community – including storytelling, social media forums, networks and applications for mobile devices – are approached in this study as digital practices and as tools for language acquisition. Focus lies on recent initiatives in Sweden and Norway.

The aim is to investigate how knowledge is shaped in online media and digital technology in the Sámi community, and consequently how the traditional experts and producers of knowledge are redefined in a contemporary context characterized by a new media landscape, a strong engagement from the Sámi community online and offline, as well as revitalization movements.
Further, I will discuss the effects and challenges that digital tools and practices may imply and offer for empowerment and possible linguistic and cultural revitalization.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: