Om ”Lapparnes privilegier” : Föreställningar om samiskhet i svensk samepolitik 1883-1997
Sammanfattning: In discussions on the rights of minority groups, the group itself is generally taken for granted. It appears either irrelevant or timeless — unaffected by historical change and political practice. In the present thesis the role of this presumptive view of the group as a base for minority politics is problematised.The study’s point of departure is the notion that minority politics is dependent on certain conceptions of the group, in order to legitimate divergences from the ideal of equal treatment of citizens. These conceptions define what rights may be accorded to the group. However, these conceptions are also partly constituted in and through political practice, since special treatment presupposes a set of fundamental distinctions, categories and definitions to single out a particular group from the body of citizens. Groups are therefore in some respect the outcome of politics. The study investigates the relationship between conceptions of the Sami group in Swedish Sami policy and the system of special rights granted to the Sami minority between 1883 and 1997.By analysing policy problems formulated and solutions proposed in Swedish Sami policy, the dissertation makes explicit the construction of Samihood in public policy itself, its relevance for political practice and for rights accorded to the group. The study problematises dominant conceptions of Samihood in public discourse and seemingly given categories and definitions that have been institutionalised in and through a system of special rights. One analytical aspect here is the extent to which a publicly constituted Sami identity has maintained a specific relation of power between the dominant Swedish society and the Sami group.The thesis also discusses the consequences of this dependence on a certain conception of the group for the contemporary debate on minority rights in political theory. Theories about equal rights that ignore the embeddedness of the construction of political identity in power relationships are rejected, as are arguments for special rights that either receive their normative edge by taking the historically given character of minority groups for granted, or ignore the role of public policy in the constitution of minority groups. By analysing more than a century of Swedish Sami policy, a political theoretical approach is formulated regarding the question which rights should be accorded to minority groups, and for what reasons.
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