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The Return of the Sami - The Search For Identity and the World System Theory

Grundsten, Anna LU (2010) SANK01 20101
Social Anthropology
Abstract
The Sami people have a long history of colonization, discrimination, marginalization and prosecution in their past. My thesis deals with how the Sami identity is created and reproduced today and how it has been shaped in the light of the history of the Sami people and the policies pursued by the Swedish government through times, and also why the search for identity, heritage and roots has had such a revival in recent years. The purpose of this thesis is to make a contribution to the ongoing discussion about the Sami identity and why it has made a “return” the last few decades, why more and more people has started to bring out their previously toned down or completely hidden or unknown heritage and identity. It is also to increase the... (More)
The Sami people have a long history of colonization, discrimination, marginalization and prosecution in their past. My thesis deals with how the Sami identity is created and reproduced today and how it has been shaped in the light of the history of the Sami people and the policies pursued by the Swedish government through times, and also why the search for identity, heritage and roots has had such a revival in recent years. The purpose of this thesis is to make a contribution to the ongoing discussion about the Sami identity and why it has made a “return” the last few decades, why more and more people has started to bring out their previously toned down or completely hidden or unknown heritage and identity. It is also to increase the understanding among non-Sami to why the Sami society, culture and identity are shaped and look like they do today. I have conducted a short fieldwork in a southern Sami village in Dalarna in Sweden why the work also consists of empirically collected material in addition to the theoretical. The world-system theory is the main theory that I have used, but other theories such as stigma and ethnicity theories have also been a vital part in my analysis and conclusions. My conclusions are that the Sami identity today is in much part the result of historical and political contexts through times, but also that it is a subject to constant and dynamic change, explained by the world-system theory and the fragmentation of the hegemony of the West. Why people chose to seek their Sami heritage now is a result of a crisis in the center or core of the world-system, which leads to fragmentation and people looking to the emerging peripheries and the diverse rather than integration or assimilation to find coherence in their realities, as a sort of survival strategy in a cultural sense. This also results in a status related evaluation of different symbols and cultural expressions which can create stigma and ethnocentrism in turn, and thus influence the creation of identity among people belonging to the same ethnic group. (Less)
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author
Grundsten, Anna LU
supervisor
organization
course
SANK01 20101
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
world-system theory, identity, modernity, ethnicity, culture, Sami politics, stigma, historic approach, ethnocentrism
language
English
id
1613712
date added to LUP
2010-06-11 15:37:08
date last changed
2010-06-11 15:37:08
@misc{1613712,
  abstract     = {The Sami people have a long history of colonization, discrimination, marginalization and prosecution in their past. My thesis deals with how the Sami identity is created and reproduced today and how it has been shaped in the light of the history of the Sami people and the policies pursued by the Swedish government through times, and also why the search for identity, heritage and roots has had such a revival in recent years. The purpose of this thesis is to make a contribution to the ongoing discussion about the Sami identity and why it has made a “return” the last few decades, why more and more people has started to bring out their previously toned down or completely hidden or unknown heritage and identity. It is also to increase the understanding among non-Sami to why the Sami society, culture and identity are shaped and look like they do today. I have conducted a short fieldwork in a southern Sami village in Dalarna in Sweden why the work also consists of empirically collected material in addition to the theoretical. The world-system theory is the main theory that I have used, but other theories such as stigma and ethnicity theories have also been a vital part in my analysis and conclusions. My conclusions are that the Sami identity today is in much part the result of historical and political contexts through times, but also that it is a subject to constant and dynamic change, explained by the world-system theory and the fragmentation of the hegemony of the West. Why people chose to seek their Sami heritage now is a result of a crisis in the center or core of the world-system, which leads to fragmentation and people looking to the emerging peripheries and the diverse rather than integration or assimilation to find coherence in their realities, as a sort of survival strategy in a cultural sense. This also results in a status related evaluation of different symbols and cultural expressions which can create stigma and ethnocentrism in turn, and thus influence the creation of identity among people belonging to the same ethnic group.},
  author       = {Grundsten, Anna},
  keyword      = {world-system theory,identity,modernity,ethnicity,culture,Sami politics,stigma,historic approach,ethnocentrism},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The Return of the Sami - The Search For Identity and the World System Theory},
  year         = {2010},
}