The Influence of Gender on the Adaptive Capacity of Swedish Reindeer herding communities
In Sweden, the indigenous Sami have exclusive rights to reindeer husbandry, which continues to provide for a minority of Sami in economically and culturally significant ways. However, the Sami have faced longstanding challenges including marginalization within Swedish society, competing interests from multiple industries, a diminishing land base and environmental changes impacting the herds. Meanwhile, gender relations within Sami communities have changed since the mid-19th century as a result of Swedish policies and other factors. These ecological and social changes have impacted the capacity of Sami communities to adapt to dynamic environmental conditions. While researchers have focused attention on the contribution of “adaptive capacity” (AC) to the resilience of local communities, there is relatively little attention given to Sami populations in Scandinavia. Furthermore, studies regarding AC at the community level generally consider communities as homogenous entities, with little attention paid to how gender relations affect the AC of communities. Therefore, the purpose of this thesis is to address this gap and to inform gender-sensitive policy and practice in resource-based communities. My study developed a framework for AC that is sensitive to the lifestyle of reindeer herders in Sweden. Data were collected from 81 questionnaires, 9 interviews and other relevant documents, for each of the 51 reindeer herding districts in Sweden. From these sources, I traced contributions of Sami women and men while also exploring changes in AC over time. The results of the study show that the contribution of cultural and economic capitals to AC is strong among the Sami while the contribution of institutional and natural capitals is weaker. |Both men and women have contributed to their AC and the transformation of their communities, each making unique contributions. The results suggest that herders are proactive in directing the transformation of their society towards one that embraces contemporary technology and opportunities, while maintaining values that support a longstanding cultural tradition. These findings suggest that isolating gendered inputs to adaptation may help create more specific targets for increasing capacity while augmenting their overall effectiveness and efficiency.
DegreeMaster of Environment and Sustainability (M.E.S.)
DepartmentSchool of Environment and Sustainability
ProgramEnvironment and Sustainability
SupervisorReed, Maureen G.
CommitteeLidestav, Gun; Natcher, David; Hesseln, Hayley
Copyright DateDecember 2014
ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE