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KULMEDIA-Kultur- og mediesektoren

The New Sámi Renaissance: Nordic Colonialism, Social Change and Indigenous Cultural Policy

Alternative title: Samisk renessanse: nordisk kolonialisme, sosial endring og urfolks kulturpolitikk

Awarded: NOK 7.0 mill.

Despite the fact that Indigenous peoples all over the world continue to face colonial and extractive policies which threaten their land-based livelihoods and existence as peoples, at the same time interest in, and even appreciation of, indigenous cultures and identities seems to be growing. This is particularly evident within the arts and popular culture, where indigenous artists, themes and heritage flourish in unprecedented ways, prompting new talk about an ongoing new ?renaissance? of Indigenous cultures and identities. The aim of this project is to critically explore and identify the new challenges, concerns and opportunities that the and revival of indigenous arts and popular culture is presenting to the Sámi society on the level of cultural politics and policy, and to analyze this turn as an aspect of broader change in the nature of Nordic colonialism and in relations between the Sámi and majority societies.The project?s primary objective is to strengthen Sámi cultural revitalization through a better understanding of the complex social, political and economic forces which are reshaping contemporary politics of Indigeneity within Nordic countries. Secondary objective is to generate research-based knowledge that could support sustainable indigenous cultural policy design and implementation, and be of use for the Sami society as well as for public authorities and stake-holders working with Sámi arts and culture.

Contemporary societies manifest growing interest in, and appreciation of, indigenous cultures and identities. This is particularly evident within the arts and popular culture, where indigenous artists, themes and heritage seem to flourish in unprecedented ways, prompting new talk about an ongoing “renaissance” of Indigenous cultures and identities. NESAR seeks to identify new issues, concerns and opportunities that the growing interest in, and revival of, indigenous arts and popular culture is presenting to the Sámi society on the level of cultural politics and policy, and to analyze this turn as an aspect of broader change in the nature of Nordic colonialism and in relations between Sámi and majority societies. The project investigates (1) What social, political and economic forces and transformations are contributing to the growing prominence of indigeneity within Nordic societies? (2) What are the struggles, concerns and hopes that appear central for Sámi (cultural) politics in the context of the “new indigenous renaissance”? (3) What kind of measures and policies are necessary to protect and promote Sámi self-determination and cultural revitalization in the present conjuncture? The research is interdisciplinary and it is undertaken in line with the ethos and objectives of conjunctural analysis, an approach developed within Cultural studies and associated especially with the work of Stuart Hall. The approach is implemented through qualitative research methods, especially ethnography, document analysis and archival research within a Nordic and trans-indigenous comparative framework. The project will contribute to several critical debates on the politics of indigeneity, contemporary colonialisms and decolonisation within the social sciences and humanities, including indigenous studies, Sami research, cultural studies, social anthropology, critical musicology, politics and sociology - especially ethnography, document analysis and archival research.

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KULMEDIA-Kultur- og mediesektoren