Sociomaterial intertwinements in Sami research

The Nordic Museum in Stockholm and the legacy of Ernst Manker


  • Eva Silvén The Nordic Museum



This article summarises a study about Sami related research and collecting at the Nordic Museum in Stockholm, with focus on curator Ernst Manker and the period between 1930 and 1970, however, in a slightly broader time context. Manker was a productive and influential actor in the sociomaterial network that comprised a broad range of people and phenomena connected to Sami issues. His legacy (objects, photographs, exhibitions, scientific research, popular travelogues) is analysed both in its historical context and as a complex contemporary heritage, starting from questions about its possible essentialising or emancipating effects. Although based on an asymmetric power relationship between the Sami and the museum, the research and collections are characterised as culturally intertwined constructions. A postcolonial perspective is used to discuss ways of strengthening the Sami dimension of such heritage: physical transfers (repatriation) and promoting Sami knowledge and meaning related to the collections.


Author Biography

Eva Silvén, The Nordic Museum