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FRIHUMSAM-Fri hum og sam

Reasserting indigenous life-styles in the European North: Ideology and Post-Soviet reality in the case of the Russian Sámi

Awarded: NOK 1.7 mill.

This project addresses political and economic tensions experienced by tundra-based communities in the Russian Northwest. In particular, it aims to investigate the problematic situation of the Sámi people in the Kola Peninsula in their relations with state institutions, with external investors in tourism and industrial development, and with other local communities - against the background of increased international attention and democratization, indigenous revival, and encouragement of establishing various forms of indigenous self-governance. The rapid changes on legislative and political frameworks as well as economic and ecological conditions create circumstances characterised by unpredictability and also by tensions between representatives of various lo cal ethnic groups. Such tensions are to some extent exacerbated by the Sámi's special relationship to their ethnic relatives in the West, which nourishes a certain amount of envy among other "small peoples" in the region living under similar socioeconomic conditions. The main field of investigation running through the project is that as in other regions of the Russian Federation, an outstanding pattern in their economic and legislative environment is the search for privately (informally) arranged s olutions to all kinds of problems and necessities, in all spheres and at all social levels. A revision of views on "the spontaneous rise of indigenism" in Russia marks a recent development in the field of post-Soviet studies. A contribution of this projec t is to understand the tendencies of development of the Sámi community in Russia as a result of interplay between internal impulses and external conceptualisations and agendas for applied action.

Funding scheme:

FRIHUMSAM-Fri hum og sam