spring 2014

SVF-8053 Legal and political approaches to indigenous peoples' rights - the case of the Sami People - 3 stp

Sist endret: 07.04.2017

The course is administrated by

Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education


Ukjent |

Application deadline

Application deadline: 14 April.

Handeling in of draft abstract: 19 May.

Course duration:: 2 June - 4 June

Submission of paper: 18 August

Type of course

This is a PhD singular course (enkeltemne) open to doctoral degree students.

Admission requirements

A Master degree and admission to a PhD-program is mandatory. There are a maximum of 20 seats. 10 of these apply to the visiting PhD students from Arizona State University. The rest will be prioritized after targeted group and category 1-3 after paragraph 10 in the Regulations for the degree of PhD at the University of Tromsø.

Course contents

The development of indigenous peoples¿ rights illustrates the use of political solutions implying processes of defining principles and transformation of preferences; and conflict resolutions through court procedures. On the one hand, courts can change practices and problematize former methods, understandings and previous uses of sources and evidence which can lead to court decisions which acknowledge indigenous peoples¿ rights like in the Norwegian Supreme Court cases of Selbu and Svartskogen. On the other hand, political solutions can be a driving force and can adjust for both new legal and political institutional arrangements, like in the case of the Finnmark Act. The topic on legal and political approaches understanding the development of indigenous rights will first be addressed. The second sequence will continue discussing conceptions of justice. The aim is to discuss how political philosophy and political theory are applied to analyze different moral and political arguments for indigenous rights. Issues for discussion is for instance different normative justifications of collective rights, normative approaches to property rights or question concerning jurisdiction and natural resources.  The third sequence has an empirical emphasis discussing how legal strategies and processes have contributed to an acknowledgement of Sami land rights. Whether this can be said to be a current legal development of Sami customary rights and use being incorporated into the legal system, is however an open question, which also will be addressed.

Objective of the course

The main aim of the course is to analyze the significance of political and legal processes in Indigenous Peoples struggles to receive recognition and protection for their legal rights.


Knowledge and understanding

Finalized the course and exam, the candidates will have acquired advanced knowledge putting them in the forefront of the subject-specific discussions on comprehending justice and legal and political approaches to understanding the development of indigenous rights. In more normative theoretical terms the candidates will be able to assess the appropriateness and application of legal and political procedures in the struggle of promoting indigenous rights. In practical political terms the candidates will be enabled to compare the complexity of indigenous rights, and to participate in high-level discussions about legal pluralism.



Finalized the course and exam, the candidates can handle and compare the complexity of indigenous rights taking into account the different contexts of colonial histories, and the development of state systems.

Language of instruction

The course is taught in English. The paper must be written in English.

Teaching methods

This is a three days course, but requires literature studies and a draft for an essay in beforehand. During the course there are lectures, essay presentations and discussions. The essay draft will be discussed during the course and should be finalized after the course. The students will provide feedback on teaching quality and course effectiveness through a combination of feedback at the end of the course and by applying an online evaluation tool.


After the course session, the student is to finalize the exam essay. The exam is to produce a text (essay) of 3000-5000 words. The exam essay will be assessed according to prevailing rules. Marks: Passed or failed. If the paper fails, the Faculty will arrange a re-sit exam. Coursework requirements: 80 % obligatory attendance, draft essay must be delivered in beforehand and must be presented during the course.


Recommended reading/syllabus

Required reading list will be developed. Minimun 700 pages.


Information about registration: here

Application deadline: 14. April

Handeling of draft abstract:

19. May

Course duration: 2 - 4 June

Submission final paper: 18. August

Program: here

Key note speakers: here

Literature (reading list): here

Scedule: here

Person with academic responsibility: Else Grete Broderstad

E-mail: Else Grete Broderstad

Administrative contact: Martin-Arne Andersen

E-mail: Martin-Arne Andersen

About submission: Draft abstract/final paper have to be send to:

Adresse: her

E-post: her