Ulf Mörkenstam, Stockholm University, Sweden "Indigenous peoples' right to self-determination: perceptions of self-determination among the Sámi electorate in Sweden"

Helsinki University Humanities Programme, Helsinki Environmental Humanities Forum, March 24, 2020 (Tuesday), at 14.15- 15.45, HELSUS Lounge, Porthania 244, Yliopistonkatu 3, 2 krs.

Helsinki University Humanities Programme

Helsinki Environmental Humanities Forum

March 24, 2020 (Tuesday), at 14.15- 15.45 

HELSUS Lounge, Porthania 244, Yliopistonkatu 3, 2 krs.

Ulf Mörkenstam, Stockholm University, Sweden

“Indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination: perceptions of self-determination among the Sámi electorate in Sweden”


On an international level, we have the last decades witnessed a remarkable development of indigenous rights, mainly as a result of indigenous peoples’ political struggle and mobilisation on a local, national and international level. Paramount in this context is the third article of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) recognising indigenous peoples as peoples with a right to self-determination. The Nordic countries had a common response to rights-claims from their indigenous people, the Sámi, in establishing representative institutions—Sámediggis (Sámi Parliaments in Northern Sámi)—consisting of popularly elected Sámi representatives. Today, the Sámediggis are considered to be the main vehicles to safeguard Sámi self-determination. What the right to self-determination implies in political practice—i.e. for domestic constitutional, legal and institutional reforms—is however still most controversial. How Sámi self-determination ought to be implemented in the Nordic countries has also been recurrently debated, and especially the role of the Sámediggis. There are, however, few systematic studies analysing how persons belonging to indigenous peoples perceive of the right to self-determination: On what matters are self-determination of importance to indigenous persons? Are there differences between persons identifying with the same indigenous group? And how are indigenous persons’ understanding of self-determination related to international law and contemporary national policies? The aim of this chapter is to analyse Sámi self-determination from the perspective of the Sámi electorate in Sweden based on data from the second Swedish Sámi Election Study in 2017.


Ulf Mörkenstam is Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science, Stockholm University. He has the last decade participated in three projects on indigenous rights in a comparative perspective with a specific focus on the right to self-determination, and in three projects on Swedish Sámi politics and the role of the Swedish Sámi Parliament. He has published extensively within this field, among these publications are two co-edited volumes (in Norwegian/Swedish) based on the first election study in Sweden in conjunction to the Sámi Parliament election in 2013, Ett folk, ulike valg. Sametingsvalg i Norge og Sverige (2017) and Sametingsval: väljare, partier och media (2016), and several articles.


Accessibility: Our venue is wheelchair accessible only partially because the elevators in Porthania are small. Electric wheelchairs do not fit in Porthania elevators. In our venue there is no dedicated wheelchair seating, but there is space for wheelchairs. Should you have specific questions regarding the location, please contact organizers in English or Finnish: viktor.pal@helsinki.fi