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Relationer i ett samiskt samhälle: en studie av skötesrensystemet i Gällivare socken under första hälften av 1900-talet
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Archaeology and Sami Studies.
2002 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation is an analysis of the relations between reindeer herding Sami and settled non-Sami in Gällivare parish, Swedish Lapland, 1898-1940. The focus of the dissertation is on the system of skötesrenar, the practice of reindeer belonging to non-Sami being herded by Sami and the subsequent contacts between the two groups. The results presented demonstrate the transformation of the relations between the two groups from mutuai interdependence to mutuai self-sufficiency, and the swiftness with which this change took place. In order to analyse the transformation, reciprocity theory is used. Reciprocity theory concerns the Constitution of relations between different groups, and the basis for such relations.

In the early 1900's, the practice of skötesrenar was a well-developed system contributing to the good relations between Sami and non-Sami, as well as to the improvement of the material conditions of those involved. The skötesrenar were important both socially and economically for the persons participating in the system. The huge societal changes that took place during the 20th Century resulted in painful consequences for the relations between the groups. Industrialisation multiplied the number and types of jobs available for the settled non-Sami, while the Sami to a large extent were prevented from partaking of the new opportunities. Industrialisation also caused the decline of the subsistence economy and made the market economy dominant in the locai community. The foundation of the system with skötesrenar had been the mutuai need to meet and exchange goods and services not available within each group; the growth of the market economy altered that. The laws concerning skötesrenar were also changed repeatedly - in 1898, 1917, and 1928 - without regard for the fears by the local community concerning the negative consequences for inter-group relations. Significant changes also took place within Sami society affecting the skötesrenar; the transformation of herding from the intensive to extensive type decreased the participation of women and children in herding, and subsequent erection of permanent residences for Sami families, as well as large annual fluctuations in herd sizes.

The present dissertation demonstrates from reciprocity theory that a mutual concern - in this case the skötesrenar - can contribute to the maintenance of a low level of conflict between two ethnically and culturally different parties. Mutual interdependence is a significant factor in upholding a feeling of solidarity. The parties were eager to preserve good mutual relations as conflicts could severely hurt their material conditions. The societal changes taking place meant that by the 1930's the old institutionalised interdependency had ceased to exist. Older people continued the exchanges across group boundaries, but for the rising generation mutuai interaction was replaced by alienation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Institutionen för arkeologi och samiska studier, Umeå universitet , 2002. , 225 p.
Samiska studier, ISSN 1651-5153 ; 2
Keyword [en]
Sami history, reindeer herding, reindeer herders, farmers, skötesrenar, relations, industrialisation, legislation, societal changes, social and economic factors, reciprocity, barter
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-56797ISBN: 91-7305-345-7OAI: diva2:537597
Available from: 2012-06-27 Created: 2012-06-27 Last updated: 2012-09-21Bibliographically approved

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