Inderscience Publishers

How do self-employed Sami people perceive the impact of the EU and globalisation?

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Free trade agreements and the decrease of barriers to trade have facilitated international business in many parts of the world. Simultaneously, globalisation has been beneficial for many. For Sami people, there have been two sides of globalisation; while globalisation has brought an increase in technology and consumer goods, there has also been an increased need for cash, pulling people from traditional self-employment. Furthermore, the man-made boundaries, that today define nation-states, have ignored the traditional movements of Sami people. European Union legislation is disrupting traditional trade routes while globalisation is altering traditional lifestyles. Based on in-depth interviews, our research shows that globalisation is changing the nature of Sami self-employment. Among the external causes of change are new requirements for meat processing; these are insensitive to local traditions and reported as being less efficient. Herding activities are becoming increasingly mechanical as globalisation pushes the reindeer economy to become a meat production business. Relating to the literature, the modernisation and dependency perspectives present incompatible views of the relationship between the Sami people and the developed world; the modernisation prescription is mismatched with Sami objectives relating to their traditions, culture and values and the role that these are to play in development.

Keywords: globalisation, self-employment, entrepreneurship, reindeer economy, meat production, modernisation, change, traditional lifestyles, indigenous firms, Sami, small business, market economy, culture, EU, European Union

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