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New Article on The Nomads, the Settlers and the In-betweens

Published Oct 08, 2020

Division Postdoc Otso Kortekangas' article "The nomads, the settlers and the in-betweens: Nordic clergymen on Sámi livelihoods in the early
nineteenth century" recently got published in the journal History and Anthropology.
KEYWORDS: Sámi history, nomadism, agriculture, civilization, Petrus Læstadius, Jacob Fellman


This article analyzes the published journals of two Lutheran clergymen active in the Sámi areas of the early nineteenth century Nordic countries, Petrus Læstadius (Sweden) and Jacob Fellman (Finland). The article focuses on the ways Læstadius and Fellman described the transition from nomadism to agriculture that many Sámi individuals undertook in the nineteenth century, following a couple of centuries of agricultural colonization of the Sámi areas of Sweden and Finland.

The aim of this article is to illuminate and examine the various degrees between the categories ‘sedentary settler’ and the ‘nomadic Sámi’. What kind of in-between positions did this seemingly binary pair of concepts conceal? The article contributes to our understanding of the ways indigenous peoples were perceived in the early nineteenth century and how their livelihoods were coded in relation to dominant ideals of national economy and civilization. The focus on the in-between positions between ‘settlers’ and ‘nomads’ reveals important complexities in the views of the clergymen. It uncovers various, at times contradictory definitions of culture and civilization. The article also concludes that while the priority of agriculture as the main livelihood of both Sweden and Finland was clear, this view was challenged by the notion of the sustainable Sámi livelihood of large-scale reindeer herding.

Full article (open access) 

Otso Kortekangas
Otso Kortekangas
Belongs to: Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment
Last changed: Oct 08, 2020