University of Oulu

Manderstedt, L., Palo, A. & Kokkola, L. Rethinking Cultural Appropriation in YA Literature Through Sámi and Arctic Pedagogies. Child Lit Educ 52, 88–105 (2021).

Rethinking cultural appropriation in YA literature through Sámi and arctic pedagogies

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Author: Manderstedt, Lena1; Palo, Annbritt1; Kokkola, Lydia1,2
Organizations: 1Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden
2Current address: University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-10-25


This article highlights cultural appropriation in the literary representation of the Sámi (the indigenous people of the European Arctic) in two Swedish YA series: the Soppero quartet by the Sámi author Ann-Helén Laestadius, and the Idijärvi trilogy by Charlotte Cederlund, a non-Sámi writer. Despite their different origins, the series are more similar than different in their portrayal of most aspects of Sámi-Swedish relations. The discussion of cultural appropriations in the production and marketing of the series is contextualized within broader concerns, especially in relation to Sámi and Arctic pedagogies. We begin by noting that both protagonists are initially marginalized in both the Swedish and the Sámi contexts, but their ways of gaining agency are markedly different. Connecting these points to the authors’ ethnic affiliation does not produce useful knowledge or knowledge that can be shared, two hallmarks of Sámi and Arctic pedagogies. We argue that Sámi and Arctic pedagogies provide more relevant tools for discussing cultural appropriation in relation to literature from the region than the currently dominant models derived from Anglophone contexts. Through our pedagogically inspired analyses of voice and agency in the two series, we endeavour to create a Nordic ethics of appropriation.

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Series: Children's literature in education
ISSN: 0045-6713
ISSN-E: 1573-1693
ISSN-L: 0045-6713
Issue: 52
Pages: 88 - 105
DOI: 10.1007/s10583-020-09404-x
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 6122 Literature studies
516 Educational sciences
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2020. Open Access. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit