Youths' and their guardians' prospects of reindeer husbandry in Finland

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This chapter analyses the future of traditional circumpolar livelihoods as perceived by young reindeer herders and their guardians (N = 12) in Finland. It draws on general statistics and interviews in three different reindeer-herding cooperatives. On this basis, it analyses the changing conditions for practising reindeer herding in northern Finland based on young herders’ perceptions of reindeer herding as a part of their future and culture in addition to their guardians’ perspectives. The results show that the young herders do have confidence in the centuries-old adaptive capacity built into their livelihood, which their guardians support. Rather than seeing themselves as victims of dramatic global changes, young herders display optimism towards a future that allows them to combine reindeer herding with other occupations, for example, other professions or other kinds of mixed economy such as tourism, the production of local handicrafts and meat processing. The gender-specific issue is that young women also see reindeer herding as an important occupation due to its importance in their lives. These results reveal similar results to research in other Arctic contexts on women with traditional livelihoods. The future of traditional Arctic livelihoods will be in a creative diversification process if legal and political conditions allow the youth to harness new opportunities rather than limiting their agency.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationYoung People, Wellbeing and Placemaking in the Arctic
EditorsFlorian Stammler, Reetta Toivanen
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781003110019
Publication statusPublished - 2021
MoEC publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Field of science

  • Law
  • General education


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