When Ethnic Identity is a Private Matter

  • Kjell Olsen Finnmark University College


This article analyses the change of articulation of ethnic boundaries on the coastline and the fjord areas in Finnmark, Northern Norway in the post-World War II period. From being a ‘social stigma’ in the 1950s a Sámi identity is today something that can be expressed in certain cultural constructed spaces. This change can be described as a result of socio-economic changes in the region, the populations’ firmer integration in a Norwegian culture and the ethno-political struggle of some Sámi that corresponded with a general development in the view on indigenous people in the Western world. Even if great changes have occurred there are still some resemblances with ethnic processes 50 years ago. A spatial ordering of ethnic boundaries and pragmatic assumption of Norwegian culture being neutral norm are among those features perpetuated until today.
How to Cite
OLSEN, Kjell. When Ethnic Identity is a Private Matter. Journal of Ethnology and Folkloristics, [S.l.], v. 1, n. 1-2, p. 75-99, mar. 2011. ISSN 2228-0987. Available at: <http://jef.ee/index.php/journal/article/view/47>. Date accessed: 02 june 2023.


Sámi; ethnic boundaries; identity; cultural spaces