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Äktenskap i Sápmi: Giftermålsmönster och etnisk komplexitet i kolonisationens tidevarv, 1722-1895
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
2009 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Sápmi marriages : Marriage Patterns and Ethnic Complexity During the Era of Colonisation (English)
Abstract [en]

This thesis explores a period in Northern Sweden when contacts between Sami and non-Sami became more frequent as the colonisation progressed. The investigated period is 1722-1895 and eight parishes in northern Sweden are under study. Both the northern as well as the southern Sami area are represented. The main purpose of the thesis is thus to see whether the cultural meeting between Sami and non-Sami affected the way people chose to make significant decisions. In this study these cultural meetings are represented by the way people married.

     To understand the consequences of cultural contacts, where individuals from different backgrounds meet, concepts developed within the field of acculturation theories are used. The marriage patterns among the inhabitants are viewed with regard to three key variables founded by Ruth Dixon, as these help to explain changes or continuations in the individuals’ marital behaviour.

     The southern Sami area seamed to be rather unaffected by the colonisation process, at least according to the marriage pattern. The analysis revealed limited economic openings for marriage as well as cemented marriage traditions, and these prevailed throughout the investigated period. During the 18th and 19th centuries it was evident that the northern Sami areas were significantly affected by the in-migrated newcomers.  Even though the gender distribution in each parish seemed to matter, analysing the overall marriage pattern illuminated chiefly economic reasons for changes that occurred during the colonisation process. As the in-migration of non-Sami progressed, the age at first marriage increased particularly among Sami women. Furthermore, the results indicates that even though settled Sami probably interacted with non-Sami on a daily basis, and were integrated in their lifestyle, Sami settlers continuously estranged themselves from a complete assimilation and stuck to their Sami culture and traditions. Thus, language and cultural expressions seemed to have mattered when it came to marriage. 

     The thesis concludes that according to the marriage pattern, economic prerequisites for preferentially the Sami, changed dramatically through the colonisation process. Most affected by the changes were thus the Sami women, who experienced an unfavourable marriage market as the colonisation progressed. Towards the end of the nineteenth century the preferable form of coexistence was still the legal marriage in the area, and the marriage as an institution was of considerable importance, which is also evident since the marriage to some extent still seemed to be a family affair. The study also showed that Sami people in the southern Sami area interacted with non-Sami to a less degree than was the case in the north. However, in the north, the more ethnic complex parishes revealed an integrating population, rather than assimilating. The more ethnically homogenous parishes instead pointed towards an assimilated state among the newcomers. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2009. , 193 p.
Report from the Demographic Data Base, ISSN 0349-5132 ; 31Skrifter från Centrum för samisk forskning, ISSN 1651-5455 ; 12
Keyword [sv]
äktenskap, giftermålsmönster, nuptialitet, Sápmi, norrland, kolonisation, samer, etnicitet, ackulturation, 1700-tal, 1800-tal, Sverige, Karesuando, Jukkasjärvi, Jokkmokk, Gällivare, lappförsamlingar
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Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-22093ISBN: 978-91-7264-757-2OAI: diva2:212680
Institutionen för idé- och samhällsstudier, 901 87, Umeå
Public defence
2009-05-20, Hörsal E, Humanisthuset, 901 87 Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-04-29 Created: 2009-04-23 Last updated: 2009-12-23Bibliographically approved

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