A group is not a category (groupism is transfer): Jarno Valkonen, Sanna Valkonen, Timo Koivurova, ‘Groupism and the politics of indigeneity: A case study on the Sámi debate in Finland’, Ethnicities, 2016
Abstract: The article addresses the problems of defining an indigenous people by deconstructing the Sámi debate in Finland, which has escalated with the government’s commitment to ratify ILO Convention No. 169. We argue that the ethnopolitical conflict engendered by this commitment is a consequence of groupism, by which, following Rogers Brubaker, we mean the tendency to take discrete groups as chief protagonists of social conflicts, the tendency to treat ethnic groups, nations and races as substantial entities and the tendency to reify such groups as if they were unitary collective actors. The aim of the article is to deconstruct groupist thinking related to indigenous rights by analytically separating the concepts of group and category. This allows us to deconstruct the ethnicised conflict and analyse what kinds of political, social and cultural aspects are involved in it. We conclude that indigeneity is not an ethnocultural, objectively existing fact, but rather a frame of political requirements.
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