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Sámis as Contemporary Individuals, Spectacles and Lurking Predators: A critical discourse analysis of Sámi depictions in the tv series Midnight Sun
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This bachelor thesis examines how the Swedish-French television series Midnight Sun portrays its Sámi characters. The series sparked a lot of debate following its airing due to some of the characterisations. Due to the history of racism that Sámis have faced and continue to face, it is important to analyse contemporary depictions in order to identify how racist preconceptions are being reproduced. The study aims to problematise the connotations of colonialist discourse and processes of othering and mystification that the Sámi characters are subjected to, while also examining whether the depictions play into established Sámi stereotypes.

Based in previous research of indigenous representations in dominant media and the theories of postcolonialism and Encoding/Decoding, the study employs a critical discourse analysis to examine the discursive messages that are embedded in the characterisations. As source material for the analysis, the series Midnight Sun was used in its entirety. Character traits, actions and narrative arcs of the Sámi characters provide the analysis’ foundation, which are then situated in historical and contemporary Sámi struggles and a postcolonial framework in order to discuss how the viewer is led to understand the character as a result of decoding. The study shows that the characterisations have clearly subverted the traditional stereotypical images associated with Sámis. Furthermore, the series explicitly depicts the racism that Sámis face in their everyday lives. The series serves as a reflection that the discussion and

understanding of Sámi life and culture is changing. However, despite the series’ conscious attempts to nuance the Sámi image, it ultimately falls into a number of discursive pitfalls. Several Sámi characters are othered, depicted as social deviants or mystical remnants of a lost culture. Implicit binary structures of “us” and “them” can also be inferred in the traits of the Sámi and non-Sámi characters. The series echoes colonial discourses in which the dominant society is presented as a more sophisticated counterpart. This study, in conjunction with the ongoing shift in public perception, can hopefully lead to further study of Sámi representations and their discursive nature.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 68
Keywords [en]
Sámi, race representation, critical discourse analysis, encoding, decoding, postcolonialism
National Category
Media and Communications
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-64899OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-64899DiVA, id: diva2:1181182
Subject / course
Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap inriktning Film
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-02-08 Created: 2018-02-08 Last updated: 2018-02-08Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf