spring 2020
STV-2048 Comparative Artic Indigenous Governance - 10 ECTS

Last changed 14.01.2021

Type of course

This is an optional course, which can contribute towards a Bachelor degree in Political Science as one of the options required at the 2000 level. It can also be taken as an elective course for other Bachelor programmes within the Social Sciences, Law, Fisheries or Humanities. The course can be taken as a singular course.

Previous knowledge equivalent to STV-1003 Comparative European Politics, is recommended.

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

Norway, Sweden, Finland and Canada have much in common. All are highly developed liberal democracies. All include sparsely populated, resource-rich, Northern ¿frontiers.¿ And, all are settler-colonial, comprising indigenous peoples absorbed by the state without consent.

Yet these states also differ. Canada is federal; the Nordic states are unitary. In the Nordic states, settlers and indigenous peoples are highly intermixed; in Canada many indigenous populations remain separate. And, while Canada has seen intense judicial conflict concerning individual and indigenous rights, such legal battles have been less prominent in Nordic states. 

For all of these reasons, the Nordic states and Canada provide fertile territory to explore the rapidly evolving field of indigenous governance.

This course aims to undertake that exploration using a comparative approach. Particular focus will be on the opportunities and challenges facing indigenous governance in unitary versus federal states; the challenges of indigenous autonomy where settler and indigenous populations are mixed; and the conflicts arising between indigenous and individual rights.

Objectives of the course

Upon completion of the course the student should possess the following knowledge, skills and competence:




  • define and understand the indigenous field and the core debates within the field
  • demonstrate extensive knowledge about different indigenous peoples of the North and the main reasons for the different position and governance structure in the Nordic Countries and in the countries further west
  • explain the different perspectives of indigenous peoples both within and across such groups
  • explain and understand the different space open to indigenous peoples in federal vs. unitary states



  • identify, analyze and reflect upon arguments and positions put forward in contemporary debates on the status and position of indigenous people
  • assess claims made by researchers, indigenous groups, politicians and governmental bodies
  • demonstrate knowledge about strengths and weaknesses of theories and positions and why these theories and positions exists in the first place



  • critically relate concepts and perspectives on Arctic indigenous governance to new situations and developments, and being able to engage in debates with others on implications, solutions and recommendations.


  • understand the importance of the core character of a political systems for the space open for indigenous groups

Language of instruction

Language of instruction and examination is English. Examination questions will be given in English but may be answered either in English or Norwegian/Scandinavian language.

Teaching methods

The course consists of 20 hours of lectures


Quality assurance of the course

All courses will be evaluated once during the period of the study program. The board of the program decides which courses will be evaluated by students and teacher each year.


The exam will consist of:

  • One take home exam: Write a term paper on a given theme within the time frame of 10 hours.

The exam will be assessed on an A-F grades scale. Grades are A-E for passed and F for failed.

Retake is offered in in the beginning of the following semester in cases of grade F or Fail. Deferred examination is offered in the beginning of the following semester if the student is unable to take the final exam due to illness or other exceptional circumstances. Registration deadline for retake is January 15 for autumn semester exams and August 15 for spring semester exams

  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 10
  • Course code: STV-2048
  • Undersider