Research Projects

run by the anthropology group or with a strong role of our members


Ongoing projects

Skolt Sami livelihood (2016-2018)

This research project explores forms of livelihood among the Skolt Sami people of Inari Northern Finland. Constructive local level relationships are in the focus of the study.

ArcArk  (2015-2018)

In this multidisciplinary project methods and approaches of socio-ecological anthropology and genetics will be integrated to investigate biological and cultural adaptations of Arctic animal breeds and societies. In doing so, we aim to contribute new answers to the question of nature's and culture's roles for shaping the diverse environments, resources and livelihoods of the Arctic. We do so by analysing people’s relations and selective breeding practices with three different kinds of animals, one Arctic species (reindeer), and two non-Arctic species that have adapted to the Arctic (cattle, horses). Read more about the ArcArk project

POLARIS project (2013-2017)

In this EU-funded project, we receive mobility grants in order to analyse how incorporeal cultural heritage is enacted, preserved, and marketed in Siberia and in Patagonia. 


RISES will reconstruct the environmental histories of integrated social-ecological systems in Fennoscandia and Yamal, West Siberia that have been characterized by both climate change and the constant adaptation of people and their reindeer herds through the late Holocene. The team is experienced in strongly interdisciplinary and theoretical research. Intensive study areas for collecting experimental (quantitative) and descriptive (qualitative) data are selected for two bioclimatic zones, near and beyond treeline, in each region.


Past projects


People living in the Arctic have had decisions made for them, far away in Southern in capital cities, be it in Russia, Finland or any other Northern country. Our project took a bottom-up approach to the writing and reading of the histories of the people of the North, and how their lives developed in the 20th Century.

Anna Stammler-Gossmann coordinated the socio-economic impact assessment of climate change on the fishery sector in the Barents region and activities of the Board of Ethical Issues within EU FP 7 project ACCESS (Arctic Climate Change Economy and Society). The ACCESS project was selected in response to the first call ‘The Ocean of Tomorrow’ of the European Union. The European Commission supported the Arctic Centre research with 359,094.94 Euros. ACCESS evaluated the impacts of climate change on economic sectors such as fishery, oil and gas extraction, marine transportation and analysis of associated risks.


INNOCOM PI Florian Stammler during an interview with Viktor Seliverstov, Gazprom-pensioner and sculpture, in Novyi Urengoi 2008In depth study of relocation history, senses of place, and community-dynamics in Russian northern industrial cities, with case studies in Murmansk Oblast and West Siberia. INNOCOM is part of the MOVE project (IPY # 436), under the ESF Eucoroes BOREAS programme, where we look at state-induced population movements in the circumpolar North in general. The project is funded by Finnish Academy until 2010. Researchers involved from the anthropology team are Florian Stammler (PI), and Alla Bolotova (phD candidate).

A mega natural science project  (IPY endorsed) financed by the EU looking at climate change in the Arctic, in particular the Arctic Ocean. The social part of Damocles is tiny in comparison to the natural sciences, but Anna Stammler-Gossmann looks at coastal fishing in Russia, both fishing industry and fishing communities.


A project (IPY # 157) that takes the community level as basic unit to analyse  vulnerability and adaptation to climate and other global change, financed by Finnish Academy. They follow the ’multiple-stressor’ principle that considers the simultaneity of several drivers of change in their intertwined impacts on communities. Anna Stammler-Gossmann studies in this project fishing communities in Murmansk and Nenets Autonomous Okrug of Russia, and Terhi Vuolaja-Magga does an in depth study of Finnish and Saami communities in northern Lapland (Ivalo, Inari, Kuttura). 


An interdisciplinary project where biologists and anthropologists take reindeer pastures as the primary unit of analysis to look at the impact of change, financed by Thule Institute.  Of particular interest to the biologists is the increase in UV radiation, and how reindeer and vegetation react to it. Terhi Vulaja-Magga analyses in this project reindeer herders’ perceptions of changes on their pastures, and their possible responses to these changes. This feeds in to answering the question of what are the main factors that make reindeer and pastures vulnerable, and how can a partnership between academia and herders contribute to better responding to these challenges.


Foto: Bruce ForbesIn Ensinor we assessed the social and environmental impact of oil&gas development in Russia’s fastest expanding oil extraction region, the Nenets Autonomous Okrug, and in Russia’s biggest gas extraction region, the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. Financed by Finnish Academy, the project undertook intensive fieldwork 2004-2007 in both regions, worked together with reindeer herders, municipalities and the industry to achieve a balanced analysis from all sides. The overall project was coordinated by Bruce Forbes. Florian Stammler coordinated the anthropology part and project implementation in Russia. One of the results was that there is quite a good basis of friendly relationships between herders and industrial workers on the ground. But problems arise on higher levels, where decisions are often made without considering everybody’s interest. The project ended in 2007 with a symmposium in Rovaniemi, but outreach activities are ongoing, as oil and gas impact assessment are one of the most important current topics in the Arctic.  See also the ’news and events’ section of our anthropology website.


Alta Dam at sunset November 2008This project investigates from a theoretical perspective the processes of production of space and its relationship with power within the Sámi context. The aim of the project is to contribute to general debates on issues of power and space as brought forward by Foulcault, Lefebvre and others, particularly with reference to those cases where relationships of power and space determine conflictuous situations. Analysing these situations helps us to understand the dynamics in which entitlements, time and identities are being reconfigured.