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Ongoing project

The Limits of Sámi Politics: Inside and Outside of the Sámi Polity

Project period January 2017 - June 2019
Project employer The Research Council of Norway
Project nr. 10159
Project leader Jo Saglie

Project Description

The project explores different degrees of attachment to the Sámi polity in Norway and Sweden: Who are inside and outside of the Sámi polity? To what extent are boundaries drawn between those who are included in the Sámi polity, and those who are not?

Main Theme 1

One main theme is people who have an attachment to the Sámi community, but have not enrolled on the Sámi Parliament's electoral roll, or do not meet the criteria to do so. When the Sámi Parliaments were established, it was necessary to make a distinction between those who had the right to register as voters and participate in Sámi politics, and those who had not. We will carry out qualitative interviews and study media content, in order to explore attitudes towards this issue in the Sámi public debate, among the non-enrolled Sámi themselves, and among political actors.

Main Theme 2

Another main theme is the varying degree of Sámi attachment among those who have enrolled on the Sámi electoral roll. This is done by means of quantitative voter surveys. We ask to what extent the increasing urbanization leads to a weaker attachment to the Sámi polity, and to conflicts between the urban Sámi and the Sámi in the traditional settlement areas.

Main Theme 3

A third theme is the distinction between Sámi and non-Sámi in policy-making, which is increasingly based on statistics. Using qualitative interviews and document studies, we will study the use of Sámi statistics in policy-making, and how the boundaries between "inside" and "outside" are drawn in Sámi statistics.

Project Approach

We compare Norway and Sweden throughout the project. Although Norway and Sweden are similar in many ways, there are major differences in the Sámi policy of the two states, and in the legal basis and authority of the two Sámi Parliaments. The relationship between the Sámi voters and their respective Sámi Parliaments and nation-states also varies between the countries.

See also:



ParticipantDegree PhoneE-mail
Johannes Bergh Senior Research Fellow PhD +47 943 88 242
Jo Saglie Research Professor Dr. polit. +47 991 62 131
Ulf Mörkenstam (Stockholms universitet)
Torunn Pettersen (Sámi allaskuvla)
Mikkel Berg-Nordlie (Høgskolen i Oslo og Akershus)
Per Selle (Universitetet i Bergen)
Ragnhild Nilsson (Stockholms universitet)
Stefan Dahlberg (Göteborgs universitet)
Kristin Strømsnes (Universitetet i Bergen)


  • Per Selle; Anne Julie Semb & Kristin Strømsnes (2018). Politiske rettigheter på vandring. Urbanisering av moderne urfolkspolitikk.
  • Anne Julie Semb & Kristin Strømsnes (2017). Is urbanization of modern indigenous politics possible?.
  • Kristin Strømsnes (2017). Er en urbanisering av den moderne urfolkspolitikken mulig?.
  •  (2017). Raajah - Public Debate on Sámi Electoral Roll Access and Sámi Definitions.
  •  (2017). Jakten på en sjøsamisk identitet.
  • Mikkel Berg-Nordlie (2017). Den samiske medborgeren: politisk sterk eller svak?. NordNorsk debatt.

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Tags: Elections and Democracy
Published Dec. 14, 2016 10:54 AM - Last modified June 19, 2017 2:43 PM