University of Oulu

Nykänen, T., Lehtola, V.-P., & Vinkka, B. (2022). Civil disobedience and artistic protests: the Áltá and Deatnu disputes and the development of Sámi resistance. In T. Nykänen, T. Seppälä, & P. Koikkalainen (Eds.), Civil disobedience from Nepal to Norway: traditions, extensions, and civility (pp. 47-63). Ethics, human rights, and global political thought. Routledge.

Civil disobedience and artistic protests : the Áltá and Deatnu disputes and the development of Sámi resistance

Saved in:
Author: Nykänen, Tapio1,2; Lehtola, Veli-Pekka3; Vinkka, Birgitta1
Organizations: 1University of Lapland, Finland
2University of Jyväskylä, Finland
3Giellagas Institute, University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: embargoed
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Routledge, 2022
Publish Date: 2024-03-30


This chapter discusses two disputes concerning nature exploitation that have provoked open resistance among the Indigenous Sámi people in Nordic countries. The first one is the Áltá Controversy that took place at the end of 1970s and in the early 1980s, and the second is the Deatnu fishing dispute, which revolved around the question of fishing regulations in and around the River Deatnu in the late 2010s. The chapter describes the course of the two disputes and the forms of resistance used by the Sámi protesters involved in them, with civil disobedience in particular focus. According to the chapter, those engaging in acts of resistance first sought to defend everyday life as they lived it. However, both processes of resistance soon took a constructive turn. The protesters sought to build structures that would help in imminent resistance but would also strengthen the political position of the Sámi for the future. Moreover, the chapter discusses the nature of civil disobedience in Áltá and Deatnu. It shows that the participants emphasised the importance of law, even if they broke it when engaging in civil disobedience. Finally, the chapter illuminates the central role of art and artists in the events.

see all

Series: Ethics, human rights and global political thought
ISBN: 978-1-003-32049-4
ISBN Print: 978-1-032-01300-8 978-1-032-34086-9
Pages: 47 - 63
DOI: 10.4324/9781003320494-5
Host publication: Civil disobedience from Nepal to Norway : traditions, extensions, and civility
Host publication editor: Nykänen, Tapio
Seppälä, Tiina
Koikkalainen, Petri
Type of Publication: A3 Book chapter
Field of Science: 520 Other social sciences
5141 Sociology
Copyright information: © 2023 selection and editorial matter, Tapio Nykänen, Tiina Seppälä, and Petri Koikkalainen; individual chapters, the contributors. This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge/CRC Press in Civil Disobedience from Nepal to Norway: Traditions, Extensions, and Civility on 30 September 2022, available online: