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Two forms of community entrepreneurship in Finland: Are there differences between Finnish and Sámi reindeer husbandry entrepreneurs?

Dana, Léo-Paul and Ivan Light

Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 2011, vol. 23, issue 5-6, pages 331-352

Abstract: Every reindeer herder in Finland belongs to one of 56 co-operatives, each known as a paliskunta. In addition, some reindeer owners herd using the folkloric siida model of co-operation. Content analysis of interviews conducted with reindeer herders -- referred to as reindeer husbandry entrepreneurs, by the Reindeer Herders’ Association -- from two ethnic communities in Finland, reveals that respondents who identified themselves as ethnic Finns viewed their self-employment as an individualistic form of entrepreneurship and they focused their discussion on matters related to financial capital and profit. In contrast, Sámi respondents claimed that a significant causal variable behind their herding was maintenance of a cultural tradition and not necessarily limited to the maximization of financial profits. Sámi respondents spoke much about their cooperative siida (a fluid, informal grouping of herders who voluntarily co-operate), and the social capital it involved; and about reindeer herding skills that are acquired on the job, i.e. human capital; and also about aptitudes, beliefs, customs, habits, interests, lifestyle and round-up traditions, reflecting the fact that considerable cultural capital is passed from adults to children in the course of primary socialization. A consequence of family participation in various aspects of community-based reindeer herding is that Sámi children learn the occupation from a young age.

Date: 2011
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