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Safe and Sustainable Energy Futures in Sápmi: Assumptions and Actions, Visions and Decisions

Published: 8 July 2021

Overall aim of this supradisciplinary research project is to analyze socio-technical aspects of climate change mitigation policies, human security, safety and sustainability in regard to indigenous Sámi territories subject to production of energy and power.

This is done through the integrated lens of and history of science and technology/studies of technology and science,  and land- and water resource management/water security, with epistemological basis within from gender research.

The project aims to search for fundamental disjunctures between generic and particular concerns and the possibility to form an adaptive capacity to manage risk and safety, ensure human security, and a sustainable development in view of future energy production and consumption. Furthermore the objective is to promote Sámi and Indigenous voices and concerns within climate change mitigation policies and solutions to support a sustainable development.

Aiming to bring a Sámi related contribution to the growing field of Indigenous studies, motored by Indigenous scholars this project will work with developing “inside perspectives” as well as “decolonizing methodologies” (Smith; Kuokkanen, Öhman 2016a).

We ask:
How may policy making and concrete actions within the ambition of a “fossil free Sweden by 2030” impact on human security, adaptive capacity and resilience in Sápmi?

What prospects are there to include Indigenous – and Sámi – voices in the Climate change linked policies and actions, in Sweden and on an international level?

How can risks and threats to human security in regard to energy production be identified and analyzed in a way that provides useful statistics and ground for further understanding?

What are the main assumptions and understandings among decision making actors in regard to energy production and power systems in regard to short term and long term safety and human security?

How can current safety concepts within these sectors be informed by a supradisciplinary approach, to include differing attitudes and values, from perspectives depending on embodied and situated knowledges i.e. indigenous people’s right to traditional territories being at the forefront, gender, ethnicity, geography, education and biodiversity?

How can different situated knowledges and understandings, via a supradisciplinary approach, be translated into long term policy making, legislation as well as everyday practices in order to ensure safe and sustainable futures?

What are the prospects to enhance adaptive capacity among the involved stakeholders to deal with uncertainty and change from an approach of “inside perspectives” and “decolonizing methodologies”?

Funding agency: Formas

Funding: 2,997 MSEK

Project participants:

May-Britt Öhman, associate professor, project leader, guest senior lecturer at LTU 


Eva Charlotta Helsdotter, associate professor, researcher Centre for Multidisciplinary Studies on Racism, CEMFOR, Uppsala University