Beyond Linear Explanation : A theoretical study of definitions, concepts and discourses about the Sami people’s cultural heritage in Sweden

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Institutionen för kultur och estetik


The Sami people of Northern Europe live in a cultural region (Sápmi), which stretches across the northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. An authorized heritage discourse in these countries interpret Sami cultural heritage from a Westernized point-of-view. Higher cultural institutions use today definitions which are based on a prevailing authorized heritage discourse, while others avoid or feel no need to use the term “cultural heritage”. Some Sami institutions have recently begun to use definitions of cultural heritage that agree with a Westernized point-of-view. However, there are a few published definitions by the Sami-people of their own culture in official homepages and regional organizations that present a different discourse. With this study I hope to be able to shed some light upon at least two discourses: 1. that of the ruling-state and 2. the Sami people’s own.

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