Chapter 22 Representations of the Alta-Kautokeino Conflict in Nordic Textbooks

In: Exploring Textbooks and Cultural Change in Nordic Education 1536–2020
Author: Norunn Askeland

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From 1850 to 1980, a state organised Norwegianisation policy resulted in a colonisation of the Sami language and culture. One of the objectives was to promote enlightenment and civilisation in this group. From the 1980s – not least due to the Alta-Kautokeino conflict, where the Norwegian government subdued Sami resistance – the Norwegianisation of the Sami has been replaced by a more positive and liberal approach. The aim of this chapter is to study how the Alta-Kautokeino conflict and policy change is reflected in metaphors employed in two Scandinavian textbooks. Earlier research in Sweden and Norway shows that Scandinavian textbooks have paid little attention to the conflict and even undercommunicated it. In this chapter, the focus is on two textbooks and their metaphors about the conflict: a Swedish one from 2000, and a bilingual Sami/Norwegian work from 2010. The books consciously use more or less the same metaphors but they use them in different ways. The Swedish book has stronger metaphors and uses more irony when describing the state authorities, while the Sami/Norwegian work uses metaphors more carefully. Plausible explanations for this difference in metaphor use is discussed in the chapter, as well as possibilities for telling the story of the Alta-Kautokeino conflict in future textbooks.


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