About the research project
In recent decades, Sami groups have been involved in numerous legal disputes on rights to land and natural resources in Norway, Sweden and Finland. Previous research has documented systematic historical injustices perpetrated by the states and described emerging Sami ethnopolitical mobilization.
However, we lack knowledge about why Sami groups use legal actions in their struggle for land and recognition, as well as the wider consequences of their legal mobilization.
This project will use a mixed-methods approach to explain Sami legal mobilization and its broader effects on Sami communities and the Nordic societies. Employing socio-legal mobilization theory, we expect Sami legal mobilization to be shaped by how groups frame their grievances, what mobilization resources they can muster, and the politico-legal opportunities they face. Furthermore, we expect the choices of actors who initiate litigation and their effects to be complex, indeterminate and contingent: Legal actions can remedy grievances, effect policy change and offer new forms of participation, but it can also be divisive, increase polarization and legitimate an overall unjust system.
We will map court cases, interview key actors and analyze documents to identify the factors that shape Sami legal mobilization and its success. Drawing on the same data, we will identify how legal mobilization has altered power dynamics within the Sami communities and between them and the societies in which they