Cristin-resultat-ID: 1522752
Sist endret: 23. august 2019, 13:08
Vitenskapelig foredrag

Coastal Sapmi – Subsistence Fisheries, Legal Anthropology and Re-constituted State Theory

  • Helge Hiram Jensen


Navn på arrangementet: ECPR General Conference 2017
Sted: UiO
Dato fra: 6. september 2017
Dato til: 9. september 2017


Arrangørnavn: ECPR

Om resultatet

Vitenskapelig foredrag
Publiseringsår: 2017

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Coastal Sapmi – Subsistence Fisheries, Legal Anthropology and Re-constituted State Theory


This paper demonstrates the power of anthropological participant observation as a tool to uncover actual coexistence of parallel norm systems in the management of land and water resources. Three summers and three winters, I visited subsistence fishers in Coastal Sápmi. The paper also demonstrates the need for anthropologists working in this region to turn from economic anthropology to legal and political anthropology, and thus, to challenge the definitional monopoly of the national political science discipline called “state science”. The fieldwork in Coastal Sápmi started out with concepts and methods from the political science of European integration, but gradually turned to the concepts and methods of political anthropology. This abductive, hypothesis-generative approach was useful to uncover how actual fishing activities in this area might be governed in accordance with multiple strata of parallel social norm systems. Some of these norm systems have been codified in state law, some have been criminalized, while some are simply ignored by the scribes of paper-laws. This research criticizes so-called “state scientists” who operate with the normative assumption that the nation-state is the only possible container of liberal democracy. However, by taking the anthropological approach into the domain of political science, this research also urges anthropologists to be bolder, and not observe Sámi indigenous landscape practices as if these were relatively autonomous from their legal and political context (e.g. Paine 1967, Ingold 1995, Bjerkeli 2000, Berkli 2010). On the contrary, the anthropological gaze can contribute to re-constitution of the theory of political systems and how they are constituted (as with Nustad and Krohn-Hansen 2005). The ongoing re-constitution of state theory is a practical contribution to the ongoing re-constitution of the state system. Regionalization, Europeanization and globalization enable a new gaze on our presumably national past. Recent research has disclosed a continuous usage of natural resources, in accordance with local customs developed from an ancient stateless political system. This indicates that the states Norway, Sweden, Finland and North-West Russia never fully succeeded in their attempt to define themselves as the only legitimate source of law. The actual tension between state law and local custom was never resolved, until the states ratified recent international norms on indigenous human rights, and then started the unfinished process of sorting out the contradictions. The ongoing decolonisation in the Sápmi Region is a process of further democratisation, beyond the systematic racial discrimination previously imposed under four nominally democratic states. An empirical study of further democratisation in the Sápmi Region invites rethinking of our habitual thinking about democratization in Europe, both conceptually and epistemologically. Share this page


Aktiv cristin-person

Helge Hiram Jensen

  • Tilknyttet:
    ved Sosialantropologisk institutt ved Universitetet i Oslo
  • Tilknyttet:
    ved Westerdals institutt for kreativitet, fortelling og design ved Høyskolen Kristiania
  • Tilknyttet:
    ved Institutt for barnevern og sosialt arbeid ved UiT Norges arktiske universitet
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