Att komma hem. Identitetsskapande i modern samisk litteratur


  • Satu Gröndahl Uppsala universitet The Hugo Valentin Centre Department of Modern Languages



samisk identitet, identitetsskapande, urfolkslitteratur


In this article, I examine how modern Sámi identity is described in the novels of Annica Wennström and Ann-Helén Laestadius. Both authors deal with female protagonists, who live in cities outside the traditional areas of Sápmi, but who as young adults become deeply interested in their family history. The narrators are relating a history of denial in which everything that had to do with “Sáminess” should be silenced and forgotten as well as a story about young protagonists who try to reconstruct their individual identity in a modern and globalized world. The theoretical framework derives mainly from social psychology and gender studies. The relationship between modernity and the individual “self” has been analysed by Anthony Giddens who suggests that globalization has been linked with extensive consequences for the personal life on an individual level, and the self has become a reflexive project that each individual must construct and preserve. Wennström’s and Laestadius’ novels are challenging the borders of the collective identity of their group. The novels speak for a widened and more open collective Sámi identity, which includes the Sámis living in urban environments, and even those who do not master the Sámi language. The protagonists are also very much aware of the changeability and conceptuality of self-identity, as they became aware of their own possibilities to create a reflexive and trustworthy self-narrative. Both authors are writing about protagonists whose self-identity is been processed in a profound, even distressing, way. In the end of the novels, the protagonists have acquired enough self-regard and integrity to maintain the feeling that their “self” is living and they can reflexively control it.