Secret knowledge : the management and transformation of traditional healing knowledge in the Marka Sámi villages
AuthorHætta, Anne Karen
This thesis discusses Sámi traditional healing knowledge regarding the debate of preserving traditional knowledge, and aims to examine the management and the challenges of transformation of it in a particular Sami community: namely the Marka villages in southern Troms and northern Nordland, Norway. Traditional healing knowledge is held secret or esoteric, which means that only a line of individual traditional healers gets access to it. This study argues that it is, however, the local community or the users who are managing the knowledge by forming norms and values, by recognizing individual traditional healers and by giving their knowledge legitimacy. Traditional healing knowledge is transmitted from generation to generation, and it is the individual possessor of knowledge who determines what kinds of qualifications their successor should have. Some of the knowledge possessors had, however, the experience that younger generations do not have interest in traditional healing, and that this limits the number of candidates who they could chose to transmit their knowledge to. The reasons the younger generations give for not being willing to accept traditional healing knowledge are grounded in what the possession of the knowledge implies and what the social role as a traditional healers involves. As traditional healing knowledge can be regarded as secret knowledge with a strong connection to the local community and the users, this thesis argues that ex situ preservation would not be a preferred strategy for maintaining it. Instead one should put efforts into preserving traditional healing knowledge in the existing management system in situ.
PublisherUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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