SDÁ 1-2008: Ulla Aikio-Puoskari

Sámi servodaga dutki – dieđalaš vai politihkalaš bargi?

Ulla Aikio-Puoskari (Oulu universitehta / Lappi universitehta)

Viečča artihkkala dás (pdf).

Researchers in Sami society – scientists or politicians?

Since the times when the Sámi started to become active actors in the field of the research of their own culture and society, questions of ethics in research have arisen especially from two perspectives. From the beginning of the 1970’s native Sámi researchers have questioned and criticized the research carried out on Sámi society. The premises and intentions of the research by non-Sámi have been challenged. On the other hand, many Sámi researchers have written about how their research, based on their insider cultural knowledge and research on their own society has been threatened by being stigmatized as biased political work. A researcher, working on the basis of and from the perspective of one’s own culture is suspected of compromising the basic principles of scientific work, the principles of truth and objectivity. Both types of criticism has been claimed to have political intentions.

In this article, I argue that the same question looms behind the criticism from these opposite directions: it is a question of the unavoidable boundedness of research/ers with its/their own time, culture, language and life world. This boundedness is part of all research and is certainly not unproblematic. I discuss this boundedness in the article, not so much as a problem related to field work, family relations or membership in a local community, or as a problem related to ethnocentrism, being an outsider, and the use of power, but as an issue about philosophy of science that is inevitable in all research in humanities. The article draws on thoughts by Hans-Georg Gadamer, representative of hermeneutic philosophy of science, and the Finnish historian Jorma Kalela.