Youths' and Their Guardians’ Prospects of Reindeer Husbandry in Finland

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


This chapter analyses the future of traditional Arctic livelihoods as perceived by young reindeer herders in Finland. With urbanisation, industrialisation and rapid social and environmental changes in the Arctic, young herders face an uncertain future. Reindeer pastures are under constant pressure being narrowed and lost. The cumulative effects of climatic and socio-political changes are unclear. The conditions under which young herders raise their reindeer will likely be very different by the time they are middle aged. The chapter draws on general statistics and interviews of youth involved with reindeer herding in two different reindeer herding cooperatives in Finland (Palojärvi and Näkkälä). On this base, it analyses the changing conditions for practicing reindeer herding in Arctic Finland today compared to young herders' own perceptions of reindeer herding as a part of their future life and culture. The results show the confidence of young herders in the adaptive capacity that has been built into their livelihood for centuries. Rather than seeing themselves just as victims of dramatic global changes, young herders also display optimism towards a future that allows them to combine reindeer herding as an entrepreneur with other occupations, such as tourism. Thus, the chapter concludes that the future of traditional Arctic livelihoods is in creative diversification if the legal and political conditions allow youth to harness new opportunities rather than limiting their agency.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArctic Youth and Sustainability
EditorsFlorian Stammler, Reetta Toivanen
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages20
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021
MoEC publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Field of science

  • Law
  • General and teacher education

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