Civil Disobedience and Artistic Protests: The Áltá and Deatnu disputes and the development of Sámi resistance

Tapio Nykänen, Veli-Pekka Lehtola, Birgitta Vinkka

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


This chapter discusses two disputes concerning nature exploitation that have provoked open resistance among the Indigenous Sámi people in Nordic countries. The first one is the Áltá Controversy that took place at the end of 1970s and in the early 1980s, and the second is the Deatnu fishing dispute, which revolved around the question of fishing regulations in and around the River Deatnu in the late 2010s. The chapter describes the course of the two disputes and the forms of resistance used by the Sámi protesters involved in them, with civil disobedience in particular focus. According to the chapter, those engaging in acts of resistance first sought to defend everyday life as they lived it. However, both processes of resistance soon took a constructive turn. The protesters sought to build structures that would help in imminent resistance but would also strengthen the political position of the Sámi for the future. Moreover, the chapter discusses the nature of civil disobedience in Áltá and Deatnu. It shows that the participants emphasised the importance of law, even if they broke it when engaging in civil disobedience. Finally, the chapter illuminates the central role of art and artists in the events.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCivil Disobedience from Nepal to Norway
Subtitle of host publicationTraditions, Extensions, and Civility
EditorsTapio Nykänen, Tiina Seppälä, Petri Koikkalainen
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-003-32049-4
ISBN (Print)978-1-032-01300-8 , 978-1-032-34086-9
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2022
MoEC publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Publication series

SeriesEthics, Human Rights, and Global Political Thought

Field of science

  • Sociology
  • International political science


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