New article: Need and Misery in the Eastern Periphery

The first article from the project has now been published, addressing the issue of Nordic Sámi media discourse on the Russian Sámi.

Berg-Nordlie, Mikkel: Need and Misery in the Eastern Periphery. Nordic Sámi Media Discourse on the Kola Sámi is available in Acta Borealia Volume 28, Issue 1/2011.

The article investigates Nordic Sámi discourse on the Kola (Russian) Sámi through analysis of texts from Sámi newspapers and journals 1992–2009. Among the findings are that the relationship between Nordic and Kola Sámi is frequently discussed as a donor–recipient pattern similar to that of general Western discourse on “the [global] South” and the 1990s’ “great misery discourse” on Russia. This portrayal of the Kola Sámi is here referred to as “the discourse of need”. However, the study also finds that this most divergent subgroup of the Sámi people is accepted into the border-transcending Sámi “nation” without question – it is never challenged that they are part of a larger “us”.

The article also comments on some similarities between the discourse on the Kola Sámi as a “suffering” group, and certain patterns in Nordic Sámi self-representation. In comparison, a selection of non-Sámi media texts displayed less interest in the Kola Sámi; their paying attention to the group was more dependent on its members being perceived as victims of crisis and/or injustice; and they articulated the discourse of need more often. The two decades from which texts were drawn (1990s and 2000s) differed mainly by the latter period showing a general decrease in interest in the group; and by Sámi media being less dominated by the discourse of need, and containing more texts portraying the Kola Sámi as culturally and politically active.

Read more about the findings on NRK Sápmi’s webpages.

The article as published in Acta Borealia can be read here. A version of the article made for this website is also available (click on the icon below).