Collecting Sápmi - commodification and globalization of Sámi material culture

Author(s): Jonas Nordin; Car-Gösta Ojala

Year: 2014


In the 17th century the Swedish state expanded its influence in northern Fennoscandia through mission, tax regulation and force. The state aimed at controlling the natural resources of Sápmi as well as the Sámi population. The vast region of inland northern Sweden and Finland was started to be surveyed and the first scientific expeditions were sent out in order to collect and describe Sápmi and the Sámi. Hundreds of often sacred Sámi objects were collected and brought into new contexts in southern Sweden and from there often sent out as gifts or sold to collectors all over Europe. The Sámi and their material culture were commodified and globalized and can be studied as actants in several local, regional and global networks. This paper acknowledges this early colonial collecting process and puts it into a context of imperial collecting, comparing the construction of Sámi with the construction of Indians. In contemporary Europe and Sweden the dressing up as an Indian or a Sámi, collecting of Indian and Sámi artifacts were state of the art. The collecting of Sápmi played to some extent the same role but was also used in Scandinavian propaganda as an America of its own.

Cite this Record

Collecting Sápmi - commodification and globalization of Sámi material culture. Jonas Nordin, Car-Gösta Ojala. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 436878)

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-34,07