Study module

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ASPB1104 People, Culture and Identities of the Arctic, 5 ECTS cr. 
Code ASPB1104  Validity 01.01.1950 -
Name People, Culture and Identities of the Arctic  Abbreviation People, Culture 
Credits5 ECTS cr.  Date of expiry  
TypeBasic studies Subject0959 Multidisciplinary, International 
ClassCourse  Hours  
Study right   GradingPass, Fail, Grades 1-5 
Recommended timing 
Organisation Faculty of Social Sciences 


The aim of this course is to give the students a comprehensive knowledge and 
understanding of lives and cultures of the peoples of the Arctic regions from a
multidisciplinary perspective. After completion of the course the student is able to
- distinguish the varieties of cultural approaches among the Arctic inhabitants
- compare their different ways of interacting with their environment and the ways of expressing it
- analyse the dynamics of how local communities as a whole and their constitutive social and ethnic groups interact among themselves and engage in politics of recognition on the national/international levels
- name the basic research methods and specifics of conducting research in small Northern communities
- describe existing theoretical approaches in understanding the concepts of ‘tradition’, ‘indigeneity’, ‘traditional ecological knowledge’, ‘social vulnerability’ and ‘adaptation’
- discuss about the different traditions of northern cultural history.


The focus of the course is to outline the history, culture and social life of northern peoples by bringing in approaches developed in social anthropology, sociology, art, history and education. The study module also deals with how northern peoples are adapting to contemporary issues such as globalisation, industrial development and environmental changes. The course covers a broad range of aspects on northern societies and cultures in the Arctic region, including:
1) Discourses of construction of indigeneity.
2)  Discursive understanding of the concept of “tradition” and issues of traditional ecological knowledge.
3) Relations between development projects and community’s social viability (forestry, oil and gas, fishery and tourism) and resource governing.
4)  Local adaptations to environmental climate changes and social vulnerability.
5) Various ethnographic accounts of local communities’ cultural and ethnic identities.

Previous studies 

No previous studies required.


Lectures (22 h), seminars (3 h), documentaries or visual material (included in the lectures). Independent work (100 h).


Attendance and active participation in the lectures and seminar. Reading the course literature and writing four (4) short reviews (500 words each) of the articles from the reading list and as agreed with the lecturers.

Supplementary Literature 

Literature (suggested):

Anderson, David G. (2004). Nationality and ‘Aboriginal Rights’ in Post-Soviet Siberia. In Circumpolar Ethnicity and Identity, edited by Takashi Irimoto and Takado Yamada, 247–267. Senri Ethnological Studies 66.

Donahoe, Brian, Joachim Otto Habeck, Agnieszka Halemba, and István Sántha. 2008. Size and Place in the Construction of Indigeneity in the Russian Federation. Current Anthropology 49 (6): 993–1020.

Dudeck, Stephan (2012). From the reindeer path to the highway and back: understanding the movements of Khanty reindeer herders in Western Siberia. Journal of ethnology and folkloristics 6 (1), p. 89-105.

Helander-Renvall, Elina (2010). Globalization and Traditional Livelihoods. In L. Heininen & C. Southcott (editors). Globalization and the Circumpolar North. Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press. 179–219.

Joy, Francis (2014). What influence do the old Sámi noaidi drums from Lapland play in the construction of new Shaman drums by Sámi persons today? In Kõiva, Mare & Kuperjanov, Andres (eds.). The Estonian Journal of Folklore, Volume 56, pp. 117–158. Published by: FB and Media Group of Estonian Literary Museum. target=_blank>

Joy, Francis (2011). The History of Lapland and the case of the Sami Noaidi drum figures reversed. In: Kõiva, Mare & Kuperjanov, Andres (eds.). The Estonian Journal of Folklore, Volume 47, pp. 113–144. Published by: FB and Media Group of Estonian Literary Museum

Mazzullo Nuccio (2005). Environmental Conservation and Local Interests in Finnish Lapland. In Conservation and Society, vol.3(2):388-406. Bangalore.

Mazzullo, Nuccio (2010). More than meat on the hoof? Social significance of reindeer among Finnish Saami in a rationalized pastoralist economy. In: Good to Eat, Good to Live with: Nomads and Animals in Northern Eurasia and Africa, Eds. Florian Stammler and Hiroki Takakura, Northeast Asian Study Series 11, Center for Northeast Asia Studies (CNEAS), Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan, pp. 101–119.

Mazzullo, Nuccio and Ingold, Tim (2008). Being Along: Place, Time and Movement among Sámi People. In: Mobility and Place: Enacting European Peripheries, Edited by Jørgen Ole Bærenholdt and Brynhild Granås, Ashgate Publishing Ltd, Aldershot, U.K.

Stammler-Gossmann, Anna (2009). Who Is Indigenous? Construction of ’Indigenousness’ in Russian Legislation. International Community Law Review 11 (1): 69–102.

Stammler, Florian (2010). Animal diversity and its social significance among Arctic pastoralists. In: Good to Eat, Good to Live with: Nomads and Animals in Northern Eurasia and Africa, ed. by Florian Stammler and Hiroki Takakura, Northeast Asia Studies Series 11. Center for Northeast Asia Studies, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan.

Stammler, Florian & Gertrude Eilmsteiner Saxinger (2009). Introduction: The Northern Industrial City as a Place of Life and of Research, pp. 9–16 in 38 in Biography, Shift-labour and Socialisation in a Northern Industrial City / Биография, вахтовый труд и социализация в северном индустриальном городе, ed. by F. Stammler; G. Eilmsteiner-Saxinger. Tyumen State University; Arctic Centre, Rovaniemi: online volume.

Stammler, Florian (2005). Reindeer nomads meet the market: culture, property and globalisation at the end of the land. Muenster: Litverlag.


Grades 1-5/fail


Autumn / 2nd period


Principle tutor: Senior Researcher Nuccio Mazzullo, PhD, Arctic Centre.

Lecturers: Research Professor Florian Stammler, PhD; Senior Researcher Nuccio Mazzullo, PhD; Senior Researcher Stephan Dudeck, PhD; Researcher Francis Joy, PhD; and PhD candidate Susanna Pirnes (Arctic Centre); PhD candidate Ayonghe Nebasifu.

Language of instruction 



This course is compulsory for the students of the Arctic Studies Programme and optional for other students.


Current and upcoming courses
Functions Name Type ECTS cr. Teacher Schedule
Reg. time is off. People, Culture and Identities of the Arctic  Lecture course  Nuccio Mazzullo 
28.10.19mon 12.00-15.00
30.10.19wed 12.00-15.00
01.11.19fri 12.00-15.00
04.11.19mon 12.00-15.00
06.11.19wed 12.00-15.00
08.11.19fri 12.00-15.00
11.11.19mon 12.00-15.00
19.11.19tue 12.00-16.00

Upcoming exams
No exams.