Trapped in the net of circumstances. Nature use practices of the Sami people of Lovozero in the changing socio-economic, administrative and environmental settings

Thesis by: Shavrina, Olga


This thesis is a local community study, which examines the issues of nature use by the Sami people in the settlement of Lovozero – a community situated in circumpolar Russia, where nature use is mainly presented by reindeer herding, fishing, hunting, and gathering. Leaning on the extensive list of references and combining information from various information sources, this interdisciplinary research pursues descriptive and exploratory purpose. The research is based on fieldwork carried out in Lovozero in May 2013. Through the qualitative research methods, namely ten semi-structured interviews and short-term participant observation, the study explores local people’s experiences of the circumstances that impact nature use in Lovozero, and point out their responses to the challenges in this regard. In addition, this thesis attempts to identify the categories of meaning of nature use practices for the Sami residents of Lovozero. The findings of the study reflect that though nature use has a significant importance for the Sami residents of Lovozero as both material and cultural elements, nature use by the Sami in the Murmansk Region is associated with a number of problems related to the socio-economic, administrative and environmental circumstances. The present-day responses to the challenges in this regard are represented by short-term coping strategies, which do not prove to be efficient in the current situation of persistent stress. The thesis argues that developing resilience in Lovozero would require building long-term adaptive strategies, based on cooperation between the local Sami institutes and the regional authorities, and assuming involvement of the local people into the decision-making process. The study additionally highlights the presence of local Sami officials in the picture and gives voices to their suggestions of possible solutions to the existing challenges in regard to nature use. The thesis, thus, might have some relevance in the framework of the Sami political movement.


Thesis available