Quest for authenticity - representation of the Sami image in Christmas tourism

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Title: Quest for authenticity - representation of the Sami image in Christmas tourism
Author: Suomi, Kirsi Marja-Leena
Contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta, Sosiaalitieteiden laitos, Sosiologia
Thesis level:
Abstract: Tourism is one of important livelihoods in Lapland. Christmas tourism was launched in the early 1980s and it became a success story - being labelled as the most epochal tourism product in Finland. Hence, today Christmas tourists are one of the most significant foreign groups arriving to Lapland during the winter season and contributing considerably to the economics of the northeastern periphery of the EU. Christmas tourism concentrates around Father Christmas who uses reindeer for transportation. The Sämi are the only indigenous people in the EU. They are all stereotypically perceived to be reindeer herders. Somehow these three, that is, Santa Claus, reindeer and the Sämi, have been incorporated into same fairytale dominion. In practice, this has happened by using the most visible cultural but also significant identity marker of the Sämi, the Sämi costume. This, in turn, has created controversy over authenticity due to manners in which the costume is used in tourism - often in imitational, mismatched forms by non-Sämi. In this thesis, after relevant literature review I intend to establish how the Sâmi are represented in Christmas tourism through visual data consisting of ten images from three foreign sources. Then I clarify why and to whom it matters of how the Sâmi are represented in Christmas tourism with the aid of 65 questionnaires and nineteen expert interviews collected mainly in the Finnish Sâmi Home Region in October 2009. Through the multiplicity of the voices of various interest and ethnic groups and by using critical discourse analysis I attempt to give an overview of the respondents' opinions and look at some preliminary solutions to the controversy. Based on my data, the non-Sami appear to accept the Sami costume usage in Christmas tourism most readily. Consequently, respect and attitudinal changes have become the respondents' propositions in addition to common set of rules of how the Sami image could be appropriated without violating the integrity of the Sami people, or a similar system of S¿m¡ Duodji trademark guaranteeing the authenticity of the tourism products. Additionally, though half of the interviewees explicate Sami presence in Christmas tourism by adding local flavour to otherwise commercial enterprise, the other half see no rationale to connect facts with fiction, that is, the Sami with Santa Claus.
Description: Endast sammandrag. Inbundna avhandlingar kan sökas i Helka-databasen ( Elektroniska kopior av avhandlingar finns antingen öppet på nätet eller endast tillgängliga i bibliotekets avhandlingsterminaler.Only abstract. Paper copies of master’s theses are listed in the Helka database ( Electronic copies of master’s theses are either available as open access or only on thesis terminals in the Helsinki University Library.Vain tiivistelmä. Sidottujen gradujen saatavuuden voit tarkistaa Helka-tietokannasta ( Digitaaliset gradut voivat olla luettavissa avoimesti verkossa tai rajoitetusti kirjaston opinnäytekioskeilla.
Date: 2011-07-29
Subject: saamelaisuus
joulu - turismi
christmas turism
Discipline: Sosiologia: Yleinen sosiologia

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