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'There was one group called Laps at that time which was doing reindeer herding and these were the only ones in Sweden, and they were the Laps.'

(Dis-)Continuities of Creating Unambiguousness in Laponia, Sweden

In her work on creating and managing the World Heritage site The Laponian Area, Carina Green quotes Ulf Mörkenstam to underline the firm connection between rights and identities. Mörkenstam states: '"[B]y defining who is entitled to what, politics constitutes identities"'. The granting of rights, as conceptualised by Mörkenstam, not only shapes the identities of the right's addressees; it even produces identities. How does this production of identity through politics take shape in the context of the The Laponian Area? What logics does the UNESCO follow when it ascribes World Heritage status to nature and to cultural practices? What are the obvious and the subtle assumptions and requests underlying their practice of picking out certain aspects of a multitude of cultural expressions and not others? And, ultimately, in how far does the UNESCO continue to pursue mechanisms known as characterising the relation between Sámi and the Swedish state, namely the confident definition of who and what is traditionally and authentically Sámi? Through my participation in the UNESCO World Heritage research class 2019/20 and in particular during my three-week-long stay in Sweden in September 2019 I followed around these questions.

This report can be understood as a first explorative approach, a first trial to find a way through some of the different perspectives the ascription of Laponia provokes.