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Governing reindeer husbandry in western Finnmark: barriers for incorporating traditional knowledge in local-level policy implementation
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Geography and Economic History. Arctic Ealat Institute at International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry, Guovdageaidnu, Norway. (Arcum)
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Geography and Economic History. (Arcum)
2014 (English)In: Polar Geography, ISSN 1088-937X, E-ISSN 1939-0513, Vol. 37, no 3, 234-251 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In Norway, recent policy reforms for indigenous reindeer husbandry incorporate traditional social organizational units into the governance regime, and are intended to induce greater internal autonomy through self-regulation. Implementation of the reforms have, however, proved challenging, both in terms of achieving policy goals and for incorporating internal autonomy. This article explores how reindeer herders' traditional knowledge and social organization are incorporated into policy implementation through legislative, economic, institutional, and informational means, focusing on western Finnmark, where implementation challenges have been most pronounced. By drawing upon an analysis of policy documents in combination with semi-structured interviews, this paper highlights barriers to knowledge integration induced by the design of supportive policy instruments of information and institution building, where traditional knowledge is de-prioritized in relation to scientific knowledge and notions of rationality and practicality. As such, this study draws attention to the importance of considering the design of supportive policy instruments from a traditional knowledge perspective, and in particular, to asymmetrical power relations between ways of knowing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 37, no 3, 234-251 p.
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-97718DOI: 10.1080/1088937X.2014.953620OAI: diva2:776318
Available from: 2015-01-07 Created: 2015-01-07 Last updated: 2016-05-17Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. State Steering and Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Reindeer-Herding Governance: Cases from western Finnmark, Norway and Yamal, Russia
Open this publication in new window or tab >>State Steering and Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Reindeer-Herding Governance: Cases from western Finnmark, Norway and Yamal, Russia
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The Arctic regions are currently undergoing transformative changes linked to globalization and climate change, which pose challenges for current governance structures. This thesis investigates governance in times of change through the lens of reindeer pastoralism, and the traditional ecological knowledge (TEK)- based management in reindeer herding. While studies increasingly highlight the benefits of incorporating TEK into governance, a central challenge remains in finding ways to ensure integration. To contribute such knowledge, this thesis analyses how reindeer-herding local management systems interact with multiple processes of governance steering reindeer pastoralism, and the ways TEK is negotiated in such interactions.

Theoretically, the thesis draws on literature on multi-level governance as an analytical framework for engaging with different types of governance processes and actors, and the literature on TEK to conceptualize local social institutions. Methodologically, a qualitative bottom-up methodological strategy (with local reindeer-herding groups and constellations – siidas, brigadas – forming the central starting point for the research) was adopted, focusing on cases from reindeer pastoralism in western Finnmark in northern Norway and Yamal in northwest Siberia.

The results show that local reindeer herding organizations are incorporated into processes of governance through participatory, representative and deliberative processes for decision-making. Yet, such incorporation has not facilitated integration of the TEK to processes of governance. A central challenge is that current governance processes are formalized in a way that do not accommodate non-scientific ways of knowing, or non hierarchical consensus-based decision- making. The thesis thus highlights the need for holistic strategies for how to include TEK in governance. Co-management and participatory processes alone are not enough. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University, 2016. 116 p.
GERUM, ISSN 1402-5205 ; 2016:1
reindeer pastoralism, multi-level governance, state steering, traditional ecological knowledge, western Finnmark (northern Norway), Yamal (northwest Siberia)
National Category
Human Geography
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-119704 (URN)978-91-7601-474-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-05-20, Hörsal C, Samhällsvetarhuset, 901 74 Umeå, Umeå, 10:15 (English)
IPY EALÁT, the Reindeer Herders Vulnerability Network StudyRUF: Forvaltning i endring
Available from: 2016-04-28 Created: 2016-04-25 Last updated: 2016-07-01Bibliographically approved

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