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David Harnesk (photo Emilio José Bernard)

David Harnesk


David Harnesk (photo Emilio José Bernard)

Reforms and coalition building around the reindeer pastoralism of the Indigenous Sámi people in Sweden, 2012–2022


  • David Harnesk
  • David O'byrne

Summary, in English

In Sweden, Indigenous Sámi reindeer pastoralists must find effective ways to improve ecological conditions conducive to natural pasture-based reindeer pastoralism in a rapidly changing environment. In particular, they must challenge the conventional climate policy agenda of the dominant economic and political actors. This paper seeks to contribute to the emergence of a social movement that can push for reforms towards such improvements. Theoretically, we combine a theory of hegemony and counter-hegemonic politics, and the contentious politics approach to social movement theory, to discuss how meaningful reforms could be achieved by assembling a broad social coalition. Empirically, we examine 10 years of data from a public media outlet that reports on Sámi issues to show what demands are being made, who is making them, and the reforms and changes in social relations that they imply. The analysis identifies current coalitions and demand clusters. We discuss potential opportunities for a new reform agenda and actor constellations, with a focus on rural and Indigenous cultures and livelihoods, in relation to a broader environmental movement.


  • LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)

Publishing year





Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space

Document type

Journal article


SAGE Publications


  • Human Geography
  • Political Science


  • Social movements
  • pastoralism
  • coalition building
  • reform
  • Indigenous resistance




  • ISSN: 2514-8486