Sámi literature in the age of digitalization and globalization

Abstract (in English): 

This paper is concerned with the adaptation of Sámi narratives to new media. Sámi literature has proved its power of adjustment in the past, and the emergence of new forms of literature and texts in different shapes and genres that we witness today, indicates that this strength has not faded. Sámi literature finds its roots and inspiration in oral tradition. The first Sámi writers were storytellers who established a transition from oral to written literature. Recently, examples of adaptation to audio-visual genres and Internet have multiplied, motivated by the contemporary sociopolitical context for minorities and minority languages in Sweden. From a historical perspective, Sámi literature has undergone an adaptation from an oral to a written medium. Today, the spoken word, sound and visual effects meet again in new media. The transition from a narrative told orally as a performance to an audiovisual medium entails an adaptation not only to a new medium, but also to a new audience, and a new context. In this paper, I investigate how Sámi literature and folklore emerge in new media, more specifically television and Internet. The main focus lies on the implications of the adaptation for the literary genres as well as for the Sámi tradition in terms of authenticity and markers of identity. Taking as a point of departure that innovation does not exclude preservation, the analysis of audiovisual genres underscores how Sámi narratives have been preserved and modified.

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Jill Walker Rettberg