autumn 2018

SOA-1006 Arctic Norway - Aspects of Culture - 10 ECTS

Sist endret: 28.02.2019

The course is provided by

Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education


Tromsø |

Application deadline

Applicants from Nordic countries: 1 June.

Applicants from outside the Nordic countries: 15 April

Type of course

The course can be taken as a singular course.

Bachelor students in Social Anthropology with exam from SOA-1005 (Sosialantropologiske perspektiver på samisk samfunn og kultur), will not be able to combine SOA-1005 with SOA-1006 due to 50% overlap in litterature.

Admission requirements

Nordic applicants: Generell studiekompetanse


International applicants: Higher Education Entrance Qualification and certified language requirements in English.


A list of the requirements for the Higher Education Entrance Qualification in Norway can be found on the web site from the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT). For language requirements we refer to

NOKUT's GSU-list.


Application code: 9199 (Nordic applicants).

Course content

The anthropological perspective in the course focuses on interethnic dynamics in the region as they unfold between people of Saami, Norwegian and Finnish origins with main focus on the Saami situation. Historical processes of mutual adaptations, and changing public policies, are related to contemporary manifestations of cultural variations and ethnic revitalisation.

After a period of Norwegian enforcement of Saami assimilation, the cultural and ethnic revitalisation now taking place signifies a major change in ethnic relationships in the North. Different aspects of this general political development will be debated.

The course considers social, cultural and religious characteristics that may have impact on the economic and political position of the minority, complexities in identity formation and different types of representations of the minorities.

Objectives of the course

Students who have successfully completed the course should have achieved the following learning outcome:


  • have basic knowledge about the cultural complexity of Northern Norway with special focus on the historical and contemporary situation of the minorities of the region
  • have basic knowledge of the main ecological adaptive strategies over time, and some basic knowledge of the complexity and varying challenges in economics, cultural expressions and rights issues in a global context


  • have skills in reading ethnographic texts and other scientific papers and relating them analytically to each other
  • have skills in analysing different types of representations with special focus on museum exhibitions


  • improved analytical competence and particularly analytically understanding of processes related to cultural similarities and differences in the area of focus
  • have competence in communicating and discussing different explanations of social phenomena
  • be able to use concepts and theories related to ethnicity in their analysis in further studi

Language of instruction

The teaching language is English. The examination should be written in English, but can also be written in Norwegian, Swedish or Danish.

Teaching methods

Approximately 20 hours of lectures and one excursion to Tromsø Museum.


The final exam is a take-home examination. The examination is based on a given topic at the end of the semester. Students have one week to complete the eximination. Approximate length: 3500 words (about 10 pages).

Marking is according to a grading scale from A to F, where F is fail. Examination results will be announced in the StudentWeb at the latest three weeks after submission of the examination paper.

The course is open for re-sit examination if there are students that due to sickness are entitled to a postponed examination.

Date for examination

Take-home assignment hand out date 23.11.2018 hand in date 30.11.2018

The date for the exam can be changed. The final date will be announced in the StudentWeb early in May and early in November.


Course overlap

SVF-6011 Samisk kulturkunnskap med fokus på lulesamisk område 10 stp
SOA-1005 Anthropological perspectives on Saami society and culture 5 stp

Recommended reading/syllabus

Reading list SOA-1006 Arctic Norway ¿ aspects of culture


Hauan Marit Anne (ed) (2014) Sami Stories: Art and Identity of an Arctic People (105p.) 

Olsen, Kjell (2010): Identities, Ethnicities and Borderzones. Stamsund: Orkana Akademiske 

(244 p.) 

Compendium to buy:

Broch, Harald Beyer (2013) Monkfish Mysteries. A Narrative Analysis of Place-making and Knowledge Production among North Norwegian Fishermen, Acta Borealia, 30:1, pp. 60-74

Reinert, Hugo (2016) On the Shore: Thinking Water at a Prospective Mining Site in Northern Norway, Society & Natural Resources, 29:6, pp. 711-724,

Bjerkli, Bjørn (2003): People-nature relations: Local ethos and ethnic consciousness. i Roepstorff, A., N. Bubandt & K. Kull (eds.): Imagining nature. Practices of cosmology and identity, Århus: Aarhus University Press. pp. 217 - 237

Bjørklund, Ivar (1988) Fields of interaction and implication systems: Læstadianism and social change in the north of Norway, Ethnos, 53:1-2, pp. 63-77,

Bjørklund, Ivar (2013) The Mobile Sámi Dwelling: from Pastoral Necessity to Ethno-Political Master Paradigm in David Anderson, Robert Wishart, & Virginie Vate (eds.) About the Hearth Perspectives on the Home, Hearth, and Household in the Circumpolar North, New York, Oxford: Berghan Books pp. 69-79

Eidheim, Harald (1971): "When ethnic identity is a social stigma." in Eidheim, Harald Aspects of the Lappish Minority Situation. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. pp. 50-67 (17 p.)

Gaski, Lina. "Sami identity as a discursive formation: Essentialism and ambivalence."in Minde, Henri (ed)  Indigenous peoples: Self-determination, knowledge, indigeneity (2008): pp. 219-236.

Gustafsson, Anna  (2018). A study of hands-in-craft. in Bunn, Stephanie. (Ed.). Anthropology and Beauty. From Aesthetics to Creativity. London: Routledge. 

Helander-Renvall, Elina (2010).Animism, personhood and the nature of reality: Sami Perspectives Polar Record 46 (236): pp. 44¿56

Joks, Solveig and John Law (2017) Sámi salmon, state salmon: TEK, technoscience and care The Sociological Review 65, (2), pp. 150 ¿ 171

Kramvig, Britt (2005): "The silent language of ethnicity", European Journal of Cultural Studies, vol 8 (1): pp. 45-64

Mathisen, Stein R. (2009)"Narrated Sámi Sieidis: Heritage and Ownership in Ambiguous Border Zones." Ethnologia europaea 39.2 pp. 11-25.

Maurstad, Anita (2004) "Cultural seascapes: Preserving local fishermen¿s knowledge in northern Norway." In Krupnik, Igor, Rachel Mason, and Tonia Woods Horton, eds. Northern ethnographic landscapes: perspectives from circumpolar nations. Washington, DC, Arctic Studies Center, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution in collaboration with the National Park Service: S (2004): pp. 277-297

Mazzullo, Nucio and Tim Ingold (2008) Being Along: Place, Time and Movement among Sámi People in Brynhild Granås and Jørgen Ole Bærenholdt (eds) Mobility and Place: Enacting Northern European Peripheries. Aldershot: Ashgate. pp.27-38

Meløe, Jakob (1990) The two landscapes of Northern Norway, Acta Borealia, 7:1, pp. 68-80

Myrvoll Marit (2017) Gosa Bássi Várit Leat Jávkan? Where Have All The Sacred Mountains Gone?. in: Heinämäki L., Herrmann T. (eds) Experiencing and Protecting Sacred Natural Sites of Sámi and other Indigenous Peoples. Springer Polar Sciences. Springer, Cham pp. 101-116

Oskal, Nils (2000): "On nature and reindeer luck." Rangifer 20.2-3 pp. 175-180.

Paine, Robert. (1988)"Grace out of Stigma. The Cultural Self-Management of a Saami Congregation." Ethnologia Europaea 18.2: pp. 161-178.

Reinert, Erik S., Iulie Aslaksen, Inger Marie G. Eira, Svein D. Mathiesen, Hugo Reinert and Ellen Inga Turi. (2009) Adapting to Climate Change in Sámi Reindeer Herding: The Nation-state as Problem and Solution. in Adger, W. Neil., Irene. Lorenzoni, and Karen L. O'Brien (eds). Adapting to Climate Change : Thresholds, Values, Governance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,. pp. 417-432.

Rudie, Ingrid (1969) "Household organization: adaptive process and restrictive form. A viewpoint on economic change." Folk 11, no. 12 pp. 185-200.

Ryymin, Teemu (2001): "Creating Kvenness: identity building among the Arctic Finns in northern Norway". Acta Borealia 18(1): pp. 51-67.

Sara, Mikkel Nils (2009) "Siida and Traditional Sámi Reindeer Herding Knowledge." Northern Review [Online],30: pp. 153-178.

Saugestad, Sidsel (2012) Regional and indigenous identities in the high north: enacting social boundaries Polar Record 48 (246): pp. 229¿235

Thuen, Trond (2002): "Cultural policies on the North Calotte". Acta Borealia, vol. 19/2: pp. 147-164.

Vars, Ellen Marie (1997): Boarding School. In: Gaski, Harald (ed.): In the Shadow of the Mid-night Sun: Contemporary Sami Prose and Poetry. Seattle, pp. 217 ¿ 226.

Ween, Gro B. and Marianne Lien (2012) Decolonialization in the Arctic? Nature Practices and Land Rights in the Norwegian High North. Journal of Rural and Community Development 7:1 pp. 93¿109

ca 780 pages