Sámi Uses of Participatory Media – Language, Identity and Communication

I have initiated a new research project about Sámi use of participatory media, that investigates and analyzes how digital media is used within the Sámi community for strengthening identities and for communicating cultural knowledge.

This project will examine to what extent digital media uses build on established modes of expression and communication within the community, i.e., to what extent Sámi groups are working with traditional modes of communication within the frame of media, and to what extent media imposes new modes upon the cultural communication.

This project is planned to run for a year, starting from now, and is partly financed by Vaartoe/CeSam, Center for Sámi research at Umeå University. Information and updates about the project will be posted on this blog.


Exploitation or Preservation? Your Choice!

New publication!

My chapter ” Exploitation or Preservation? Your Choice! Digital Modes of Expressing Perceptions of Nature and the Land” is now available for reading (open access). It is published in the book The Environment in the Age of the Internet. Activists, Communication, and the Digital Landscape (Ed. Heike Graf, Open Book Publishers).

You can read below the information posted by the publisher about the book. See Open Book Publishers for accessing the pdf or if you wish to order a copy!


This timely and necessary book examines the impact of digital media on how we talk about the environment. The Environment in the Age of the Internet is an interdisciplinary collection that draws together research and answers from media and communication studies, social sciences, modern history, and folklore studies. Edited by Heike Graf, its focus is on the communicative approaches taken by different groups to ecological issues, shedding light on how these groups tell their distinctive stories of “the environment”. This book draws on case studies from around the world and focuses on activists of radically different kinds: protestors against pulp mills in South America, resistance to mining in the Sámi region of Sweden, the struggles of indigenous peoples from the Arctic to the Amazon, gardening bloggers in northern Europe, and neo-Nazi environmentalists in Germany. Each case is examined in relation to its multifaceted media coverage, mainstream and digital, professional and amateur.

Stories are told within a context; examining the “what” and “how” of these environmental stories demonstrates how contexts determine communication, and how communication raises and shapes awareness. These issues have never been more pressing, this work never more urgent. The Environment in the Age of the Internet is essential reading for everyone interested in how humans relate to their environment in the digital age.




A Linguistic Landscape Study

I am currently working on a project about the linguistic landscape of Umeå (see slideshow below for a brief presentation and preliminary results).


Umeå's Linguistic Landscape



This is a pilot study that investigates Umeå’s linguistic landscape that I conduct togheter with colleagues (researchers and teachers) with experience and interest in multilingualism and multilingual environments, from a minority and Indigenous perspective.

The languages available and visible around us, displayed in public places, have become the focus of a rapidly growing research area called linguistic landscape studies (see eg Shohamy and Gorter, 2008). A linguistic landscape is created by the combination of various forms of official and non-official signs, top-down and bottom-up, ie “Road signs, advertising billboards, street names, place names, commercial shop signs, and public signs on government buildings [in a given] territory, region, or urban agglomeration” (Landry & Bourhis, 1997: 25).

Scholars within this field of research are interested in the consequences and impact of linguistic landscapes on language revitalization and language learning. A linguistic landscape in a certain area does not only have an informative and symbolic function; it also affects a language’s vitality (Landry & Bourhis, 1997: 45).

How the Sámi languages, for example, are visible in the landscape, illustrate a hierarchical relationship between languages (Salo, 2012). Attitudes towards a language, and thereby their the visibility and use in public places, affect a language’s potential for learning and revitalization (Grenoble & Whaley 2006; Hyltenstam & Stroud 1991).

We are now working on a tool for mapping the languages we have documented in the city. I will share the results in a next post!


Från kolonisation till gruvexploatering: Nyttoperspektiv på naturen i Sápmi förr och nu

New publication!

An article that I wrote together with my UmU colleague Daniel Andersson has now been published in the journal Kulturella Perspektiv (nr 1, 2016) in a special issue about Environmental Humanities.

The article is in Swedish and will be available as a pdf on the journal’s website in a few months.

Here follows a short abstract in English.

From Colonization to Mine Exploitation. Resource Perspectives on Nature in Sápmi Now and Then


Nature is found at the centre of important place-making processes in northern Sweden today. One example is conflicting discourses surrounding mining exploitations in reindeer herding areas. In this article, we discuss these processes in the light of the settler colonisation during approximately 1750–1850. Then, as well as now, a resource perspective on nature positions different ways of living of the lands against each other. Although the Swedish state in some regards have been replaced by global corporations, and the local people that are against the mines also turn the struggle to a global level, the situation today bears much in common with what happened during the colonisation in 18th and 19th centuries. We argue that a deeper understanding of contemporary processes – and their historical contexts – is needed in order to prevent conflicts and tensions between groups of people.



Small Data and Ethics

My article on ethics and digital data in Indigenous contexts has now been published in a volume edited Gabriele Griffin and Matt Hayler at Edinburgh University Press, Research Methods for Reading Digital Data in the Digital Humanities.  My contribution in the book discusses ethical decision-making in research processes dealing with small samples of digital data, more specifically in relation to principles defined by Indigenous methodologies.




DH Nordic

This week, I participated to a conference  on Digital Humanities in Oslo. It was the first conference organized by the organisation Digital Humanities in the Nordic countries.

I presented a joint paper with my Humlab-colleague Anna Johansson, “The blindspot of Digital Humanities or What Ethnography can contribute.” Our presentation addressed the relation between digital humanities (DH) and digital ethnography (DE) with focus on the significance of small and thick data for understanding digital culture. Ethnography as the process and product of qualitative research is applied in several disciplines in the humanities in order to describe, explain and understand cultural practices, constructions and interactions. Although ethnography is an important method for the study of digital culture, it is rarely addressed in literature about DH. Our paper discusses the relation between DH and DE and explain how and why DE can be a productive contribution to DH with focus on reflexivity and ethics.

Longer abstract available here.




Under Samiska veckan i Umeå arrangerar vi en konferens på temat hur digital teknik kan bevara och utvecklar de samiska språken. Detta är ett samarbete mellan Sametingets språkcentrum, SSR, Umeå Universitetet och Umeå kommun (se nedan).

Jag har de senaste åren arbetat med ett forskningsprojekt om digital teknik för kunskapsproduktion och kunskapsöverföring. Idén med konferensen föddes under projektets gång och som ett resultat av presentationer och diskussioner om verktyg, applikationer och mjukvaror som skapas för att stärka de samiska språken.


Se programmet: Preliminärt program_sv


Samiskt språkcentrum arrangerar under Ubmejen biejvieh – Samiska veckan en konferens för att belysa hur den digitala tekniken kan bevara och utveckla de samiska språken. Målgruppen är samiska språkarbetare, modersmålslärare, samiska föräldrar, samordnare i samiska förvaltningskommuner och övriga som har intresse i samiskans utveckling.

Hur kan den digitala tekniken hjälpa till att stödja de olika samiska språken? Kan de samiska språken erövra mer plats i den digitala världen eller är det bara framtidsdröm?

Programmet består av inspirerande föreläsningar, diskussioner och panelsamtal bl a kring användningen av appar, sociala medier och nätbaserad undervisning i samiska.

Ambition är att genomföra denna konferens varje år under tre år i samband med Ubmejen Biejvieh.

Medarrangörer är HUMlab och Institutionen för Språkstudier vid Umeå universitet, Kompetenscentrum för flerspråkighet och För- och grundskolan vid Umeå kommun samt SSR – Svenska Samernas Riksförbund.

När? Måndag 7 mars, kl. 9-16
Var? HUMlab X, Konstnärligt Campus, Umeå. Konferensen är gratis, men antalet platser är begränsat.

Anmälan sker senast den 26 februari 2016 till språkkonsulent Patricia Fjellgren vid Samiskt språkcentrum via mejl Patricia.Fjellgren@sametinget.se eller telefon 063- 15 08 57.


Årskrönika 2015 

Det nya året kan inte börja utan att avsluta det gamla… Så här är några tillbakablickar på det som har varit:

Sameradion sammanfattar 2015 i ljud och bild: Nyårskrönikan

Hálgu ger oss en överblick över vad som spelats, vad vi lyssnat på och vad vi röstade fram som bästa låt: Från Mellojojk till Klimatjojk.

“Klimatjojken”, “klimatmarschen” och det fortsatta starka engagemang från Sápmi i miljökampen är det som jag kommer att minnas mest…



Den 6 februari, på Samernas nationaldag, sände SVT Jahki Sámis (året i Sápmi). Programmet finns på SVT play i en månad.





Jag är numera docent i samiska studier!

Vilket innebär också att Samiska studier har numera en docent i ämnet!

Vad betyder det? Jo, en docentur i Sverige innebär att man har en vetenskaplig produktion som motsvarar en avhandling efter doktorsexamen samt en pedagogisk kompetens i form av bl.a. undervisningserfarenhet samt utbildning i högskolepedagogik.

För min del innebär det ingen större förändring – det är ju bara en titel – men det känns givetvis bra att ha fått en extern expertbedömning på det jag har jobbat med de senaste åren.

För samiska studier som forskningsområde är det en positiv utveckling. Umeå universitetet var ganska länge utan professor, med få aktiva doktorander och få studenter. För ca 1 år sedan antogs flera doktorander i samiska studier. Antalet avhandlingar med samisk tematik har ökat markant de senaste åren. Under 2015 blev Mikael Vinka professor i samiska vid Umeå Universitet, och i juni disputerade Hanna Outakoski med en avhandling om samiska och flerspråkighet. Jag vill gärna se min docentur – den första i ämnet Samiska studier – som en del av en förstärkning av området vad gäller forskning och utbildning.

Indigenous People and Mobile Technologies

New book in the Routledge Studies in New Media and Cyberculture series!

Indigenous People and Mobile Technologies examines how mobile technologies are being embraced by Indigenous people. I contributed to the volume with the chapter “Mobile technology in Indigenous Landscape” about a mobile linguistic landscape in Sápmi.




omslag copy


“This book explores how mobile technologies are overcoming disadvantage and the tyrannies of distance, allowing benefits to flow directly to Indigenous people and bringing wide-ranging changes to their lives. It begins with general issues and theoretical perspectives followed by empirical case studies that include the establishment of Indigenous mobile networks and practices, mobile technologies for social change and, finally, the ways in which mobile technology is being used to sustain Indigenous culture and language.”