Digital information and traditional knowledge : the implementation of GPS collars as a tool in reindeer husbandry

Abstract

This dissertation presents the use of global positioning systems (GPS) navigation devices to monitorthe reindeer within husbandry. The use of the GPS collar in the study area has expanded over theyears. This dissertation has sought to obtain a deeper understanding of how the two knowledgesystems, traditional Sámi knowledge and a technology-based knowledge, operate in husbandrytoday. Furthermore, social and ethical dimensions of change that may accompany digital technologyare examined. The prerequisite for reindeer husbandry vary from season to season, from year to year. The reindeer’s grazing and movement patterns are governed by changes in the weather conditions. Other factors that affect the reindeer husbandry work include different intrusions in the form of treefelling, hydropower, turbines for wind power and the activities of the mining industry. The four articles in this dissertation follow the research’s empirical foundation, with the GPS collar’s role inhusbandry examined from different angles. The ethnographic material consists mainly of interviews, observations and extant-literature studies conducted mostly between 2015 and 2019. I have made interviews with men and women of different ages that all have a lifelong relationship with the reindeer. The informants are reindeer herders who participate in daily herding activities and reindeer owners who do not participate so actively. They belong to different Sámi communities and are connected to and living in different areas around Jokkmokk. I have taken inspiration from actor network theory in highlighting the relationship between the reindeer, the landscape, the reindeer herder, the GPS technology, and authorities and other stakeholders. One starting point in actor-network theory (ANT) is to follow the relationships that are constructed and reconstructed through the collaboration of an heterogeneity of actors that together form what is called a network within ANT (Latour 1998). In article I, I discuss how the use of digital technology is a process in which new technology becomes familiarised, and the nature of the technology gradually changes to natural elements of everyday life. Reflecting on digitally transmitted data, herders expressed how there are things you cannot replacewith technology. One conclusion of the research was that new technology cannot replace reindeer herders’ presence in the reindeer forest; it only complements reindeer herders’ active presence. In article II I highlight how technologically transferred knowledge is becoming a tool to strengthen the Sámi community’s voice in discussions about land-use rights, providing ‘hard facts’. Article III outlines how reindeer movements are materialised and how herders experience these movements through a spectrum of emotions ´read´ through herders’ embodied, traditional knowledge. There are two conflicting scenarios at the centre of this article: feeling in control and feeling a loss of control due to the same information. Article IV draws attention to processes of creation of meaning and thoughts about value concerning digital technology. Further in the article, I addressed questions that refer to cultural and ethical values connected to the use of GPS collars.Muv diedalasj tjála vuosádallá GPS-sásstágij (global positioning system) adnemav váksjudittjat boahttsujt boatsojäládusán. Adnem GPS-teknologidjas boatsojäládusán la lassánaddam maŋemus jahkelågijt. Dát diedalasj tjála vaddá dádjadimev man láhkáj guokta máhttovuogádagá; árbbedábálasj sáme máhttudahka ja teknijkalasj máhttudahka dåjmmi dálásj ällosujton. Tjála ságastallá goappátjagá praktijkalasj adnema birra GPS-sásstágij hárráj ja sociálak båhtusij birra ma båhti adnema tjadá. Ällosujto vijor målssus jages jahkáj. Dálke rievddadime stivrriji gåggu boahttsu guohtu ja vádtsi. Ietjá oare ma bájnatji ällosujtov nievresláhkáj li tjuolos, tjáhtjefábmoásadus, bieggafábmoásadus ja råkkådakindustridja dåjma. Da niellja artihkkala dán tjállagin tjuovvu åtsådallammáhto vuodov, gånnå GPS-sásstága ánburgge ällosujton moattet guovlos åtsåduvvi. Gehtjadum ihtanisá li tjielggiduvvam etnologidjalasj barggovuogij tjadá. Åtsådallamdiedo li tjoahkkiduvvam gatjádallamij, gehtjadimij ja girjjelåhkåmij tjadá, ienemusát 2015 ja 2019 gaskan. Mån lav ålmmåjt ja nissunijt ságájdahttám, goappátjagá nuorap ja vuorrasap sáme gudi li viessomájgev boahttsuj barggam. Diehtovadde li räjnára gudi bäjvvásattjat barggi ällosujton ja älloniehke gudi duolloj dálloj ällosujton barggi. Sij gulluji umasse tjieldijda ja årru moatten bájken Dálvvadisá birra. Mielastuvvam ”aktör”-värmmádakteoridjas (Latour 2005) anet ällosujtov värmmádahkan mij hábbmiduvvá moattelágásj aktavuodajs boahttsuj, institusjåvnåj, teknijkaj, biejadusáj ja räjnárij gaskan. 1. artihkkalin ságastaláv man láhkáj digitála teknijkka l dáhpájdis gånnå ådå teknijkkaadnem lávkes lávkkáj luondulattjan sjaddá ällosujton. Räjnára li giehttum juska teknijkka gávnnu de hähttuji huoman räjnnuhittjat vuolgget; teknijkka dan sadjáj duoddi räjnárij aktijvalasj säbrramav. Dassta vuojnná árbbedábálasj máhtto l ávkken ällosujttuj ja aktan teknijkajn. 2. artihkkalin åtsåv man láhkáj digitálak teknijkka nanostuhttá räjnárij giehtojt gå adni digitálak dáhtáv duodastussan sjiehtadallamijn ednamadnema birra, buojkulvissan miehttsevidnudagáj. 3. artihkkalin åtsåv räjnárij vásádisájt gå boahttsuj vádtsemijt GPS-kártan vuojnni. Gávnnuji guokta vuosstedáhpájdisá dán artihkkala gassko: dåbddo kontrållås ja dåbddovádne sämmi diedojs. 4. artihkkalin vuoset man láhkáj räjnára ielvvi teknjijkav gávnnasin moattelágásj vidjurijn. Ájn vil vuosedav kultuvralasj ja etijkalasj árvojt tjanádum GPS-sásstága adnemij

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