The ethnic identity of the Sami people : A study about the perception of Samis’ ethnic identity

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för samhällsstudier (SS)

Abstract: The purpose of this thesis is to analyze perceptions about the Sami ethnic identity. In order to analyze the topic, this thesis is using a qualitative method. It seeks to answer the research questions “how do the Sami perceive they can live and express their ethnic identity?” and “how are the Sami people´s ethnic identity being portrayed by others”?. The conclusions were reached through studying language and to be more specific, a discourse analysis using various academic papers and from newspaper articles. The analysis is based on a broad analytical framework which consists of stigma by Goffman, Ethnicity by Olsson, Ålund, and Johansson, and ethnic identity three-stage model development by Phinney. These theories and concepts were chosen since they are the most suitable theories in order to analyze the objective. The findings were broken down into four different topics, the topics are “reindeer herding”, “relationship with each other and other indigenous groups”, “climate change” and “Sami identity”. The results suggest that Sami people are proud of their identity and that they can express their identity, even though there are perceptions that they live in a colonial system. The results also suggest that non-Sami people very often perceive the Sami ethnicity in a negative way. The results correspond to stigma and ethnicity and mostly regarding ethnic identity development. However, there are some flaws in the ethnic identity development three-stage model.

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