New Phd: State Management & Traditional Knowledge in Reindeer Husbandry Management

May 19, 2016 • Philip BurgessBlog, Reindeer, Reindeer Herders

Ellen Inga TuriSámi scholar Ellen Inga Turi is defending her Phd on Friday, May 20 in Umeå, Sweden. Her work is groundbreaking and touches on the field of management, reindeer husbandry and traditional ecological knowledge.

The PhD is entitled “State Steering and Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Reindeer Herding Governance: Cases from western Finnmark, Norway and Yamal, Russia”. Her Faculty Opponent is Professor Dietrich Soyez from the Department of Geography at University of Cologne, Germany. The thesis is part of the research project IPY EALÁT which has been coordinated by the Sami University of Applied Sciences and UArctic Ealát Institute within the International Reindeer Centre Husbandry in Kautokeino / Guovdageaidnu.

The area of investigation were in the Sami reindeer grazing area of West Finnmark in Norway and the Nenets reindeer grazing area in Yamal, Western Siberia, which are the largest reindeer herding areas in the world, both in terms of number of people and reindeer. In these areas there are certain similarities, but also major differences in terms such as political organization and management systems.

Ellen Inga Turi taking a break while migrating across the Ob River during field work in the Yamal Nenets Autonomous Okrug in 2009.

Ellen Inga Turi taking a tea break while migrating across the Ob River during field work in the Yamal Nenets Autonomous Okrug in 2009.

Results from Turi’s research shows that even if authorities in their consultative processes frequently include herders’ own organization units, the siida, they do not use herders traditional knowledge as a basis for decisions and management. The explanation is that corporate governance is so formalized that there is neither room for others types of knowledge bases other than the western research knowledge, or other organizational models other than the hierarchical model.

The management of reindeer husbandry needs a comprehensive strategy for how traditional
knowledge will form the basis for management processes in the future, because the current management model is not sufficient to use the participation and regular consultation processes.

The broader EALÁT project focus has been on reindeer husbandry tradition knowledge and climate change. Turi’s dissertation work is funded by the Spare Bank EN Nord-Norges fond for forskning, Reindriftens Utviklingsfond, the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Norwegian Research Council.

Turi has been raised in a reindeer herding family herself and lives in Kautokeino, Norway.

For More information
Ellen Inga Turi, tel. +4740746996

See Press release in Norwegian and Sami below