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Edited by Léo-Paul Dana and Robert B. Anderson
Chapter 19: Entrepreneurship Among Sámi Reindeer Herders
Lars Rønning Introduction The claim that ‘entrepreneurship is the art of being diﬀerent’ (Steyaert, 1997: 19) gives an important reason why ethnic minority entrepreneurs should hold on to their characteristic ways and why research should acknowledge the value of existing diﬀerences. Knowledge from mainstream entrepreneurship research should be applied with care, and with the purpose of better understanding distinct characteristics of minority entrepreneurship rather than as a guide to entrepreneurial activity. This chapter focuses on selfemployment and entrepreneurial activity among reindeer herders in the Sámi minority in Norway. Environmental conditions in reindeer husbandry and cultural elements in the Sámi culture may have an impact on the way entrepreneurship is performed. In general, knowledge from ethnic minority entrepreneurship may add to present debates on the scope of entrepreneurship research. In particular, studies of minority entrepreneurship may provide knowledge to entrepreneurship as a multi-discursive construction, as suggested by Steyaert and Katz (2004). The variation in entrepreneurial activity caused by diﬀerent cultural and social processes can only be appreciated if such dimensions are conceptualized as interactive factors in the entrepreneurial process. From an empirical point of view, the process of change in the reindeer husbandry industry, from a traditional selfsubsistence activity to an industry serving modern markets, has been addressed by social sciences such as anthropology and resource economics. While the entrepreneurship perspective seems pertinent to addressing industrial change, it is a perspective rarely adopted in previous literature on reindeer husbandry. The Sámi are an aboriginal...
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