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What ’ s counted as a reindeer herder? Gender and the adaptive capacity of Sami reindeer herding communities in Sweden

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ABSTRACT

Researchers of adaptive capacity and sustainable livelihoods have frequently used social, cultural, human, economic and institutional capitals to better understand how rural and resource-dependent communities address environmental, social and economic stresses. Yet few studies have considered how men and women contribute differently to these capitals to support community resilience overall. Our research sought to understand the differential contributions of Sami men and women to the adaptive capacity of reindeer husbandry and reindeer herding communities in northern Sweden. Our focus revealed a gendered division of labour in reindeer herding as an economic enterprise as well as gendered contributions to a broader conceptualization of reindeer husbandry as a family and community-based practice, and as a livelihood and cultural tradition. Based on our results, we recommend that community resilience be enhanced by generating more opportunities for men to achieve higher levels of human and economic capital (particularly outside of herding activities) and encouraging women to contribute more directly to institutional capital by participating in the formation and implementation of legislation, policies and plans.

No MeSH data available.


Functional scales of reindeer husbandry in Sweden
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Fig1: Functional scales of reindeer husbandry in Sweden

Mentions: In 2009, the Sami Parliament reported that 85 % of reindeer herders were men and 80 % of reindeer were owned by men (Sami Parliament 2009). It is unclear what activities were considered within the herding enterprise when these data were presented. Herders themselves consider reindeer husbandry a way of life, with associated knowledge and cultural traditions (Svenska Samers Riksförbund [National Association of Swedish Sami] 2015). Hence, we conceive of reindeer herding within the broader realm reindeer husbandry—a concept that involves three functional levels—the business enterprise of herding, the land-based practices of families and communities, and the practices and cultural traditions that characterize reindeer husbandry as a livelihood (Fig. 1). Broadening the conceptualization of reindeer husbandry to consider practices rooted in family, community, livelihood and culture acknowledges the broader significance of husbandry practices and allows the opportunity to consider different ways women and men contribute to the adaptive capacity of their households and communities.Fig. 1


What ’ s counted as a reindeer herder? Gender and the adaptive capacity of Sami reindeer herding communities in Sweden
Functional scales of reindeer husbandry in Sweden
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5120026&req=5

Fig1: Functional scales of reindeer husbandry in Sweden
Mentions: In 2009, the Sami Parliament reported that 85 % of reindeer herders were men and 80 % of reindeer were owned by men (Sami Parliament 2009). It is unclear what activities were considered within the herding enterprise when these data were presented. Herders themselves consider reindeer husbandry a way of life, with associated knowledge and cultural traditions (Svenska Samers Riksförbund [National Association of Swedish Sami] 2015). Hence, we conceive of reindeer herding within the broader realm reindeer husbandry—a concept that involves three functional levels—the business enterprise of herding, the land-based practices of families and communities, and the practices and cultural traditions that characterize reindeer husbandry as a livelihood (Fig. 1). Broadening the conceptualization of reindeer husbandry to consider practices rooted in family, community, livelihood and culture acknowledges the broader significance of husbandry practices and allows the opportunity to consider different ways women and men contribute to the adaptive capacity of their households and communities.Fig. 1

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Researchers of adaptive capacity and sustainable livelihoods have frequently used social, cultural, human, economic and institutional capitals to better understand how rural and resource-dependent communities address environmental, social and economic stresses. Yet few studies have considered how men and women contribute differently to these capitals to support community resilience overall. Our research sought to understand the differential contributions of Sami men and women to the adaptive capacity of reindeer husbandry and reindeer herding communities in northern Sweden. Our focus revealed a gendered division of labour in reindeer herding as an economic enterprise as well as gendered contributions to a broader conceptualization of reindeer husbandry as a family and community-based practice, and as a livelihood and cultural tradition. Based on our results, we recommend that community resilience be enhanced by generating more opportunities for men to achieve higher levels of human and economic capital (particularly outside of herding activities) and encouraging women to contribute more directly to institutional capital by participating in the formation and implementation of legislation, policies and plans.

No MeSH data available.