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Tourism and Sámi Identity – An Analysis of the Tourism‐Identity Nexus in a Sámi Community

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Abstract:

This article is a study of the tourism‐identity nexus in a Sámi community called Karasjohka, often regarded as the Sámi capital in Norway. The aim is, based on focus group interviews, to look at the importance of tourism as a parameter for identity negotiations. The study indicates the existence of a strong Sámi ethos, but people have multiple roles and in many of these the Sáminess is of minor importance. The relation to tourists or to tourism as such seems to be handled through non‐Sámi roles. The study unveiled three main reactions to tourism; the first one is to be irritated – by the way the tourism industry handles Sámi culture, and by the fact that the most profitable parts of the business is in the hands of non‐Sámi; the second one is called reflexive rejection – tourism is maintained to be of minimal importance for cultural and identity issues; and the third one is called discursive awareness – people admitting that tourism is a significant institution and as such being part of the contexts that over time forms their views of themselves, their culture and of the outer world.

Keywords: Indigenous tourism; Sámi; ethnicity; identity; roles

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15022250600560604

Affiliations: Finnmark University College, Alta, Norway

Publication date: May 1, 2006

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