Indigeneity in Waiting: Elusive Rights and the Power of Hope (2016-2020)

The international research project Indigeneity in Waiting: Elusive Rights and the Power of Hope studies questions of rights, hope and indigeneity. It views legal and institutional advances concerning indigenous peoples, and the promise of such advances, as an integral part of the ways in which political power is exercised today.

Significant institutional and legal advances concerning indigenous peoples have taken place both on national and international levels during the past two decades. The access of indigenous peoples to state-based political arenas has been improved and their rights are being increasingly negotiated and recognised. There is a sense of progress and a promise that change for the better is taking place.

Indeed, the focus of both research and politics has been on these institutional and formal developments that can be pinpointed. At the same time, the perception that progress is taken place has remained uncontested. The research project problematises this perception and claims that the promise of progress has engendered a new form of power that operates specifically through hope.

The project draws on three research contexts: Australia, Finland and Greenland. All of these countries have substantial developments – or a promise of such developments – in the status of indigenous peoples. The issues to be studied will be the two-decade-long discussions on ratifying ILO Convention 169 in Finland, the planned constitutional changes that would finally recognise the indigenous peoples in Australia and the rights of indigenous peoples after gaining self-government in Greenland in 2009.

The project is led by Professor Julian Reid, Faculty of Social Sciences and it employs two postdoctoral researchers: Marjo Lindroth from the Arctic Centre and Heidi Sinevaara-Niskanen from the Unit for Gender Studies, Faculty of Education. The research partners of the project are Professor David Chandler (University of Westminster, London), Professor Mitchell Dean (Copenhagen Business School), Senior Researcher Tanja Joona (University of Lapland), Professor Francesca Merlan (Australian National University, Canberra), Associate Professor Frank Sejersen (University of Copenhagen) and Associate Professor Jeffrey Sissons (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand).

The project is funded by Kone Foundation (2016) and the Academy of Finland (2016-2020, decision no. 295557).

Contact information:

Professor Julian Reid (julian.reid[at]
Postdoctoral Researcher Marjo Lindroth (marjo.lindroth[at]
Postdoctoral Researcher Heidi Sinevaara-Niskanen (heidi.sinevaara-niskanen[at]


Guest lectures: Associate Prof. Jeffrey Sissons, New Zealand

The struggle to inhabit: Lizard-eating as indigenous resistance in 19th-century New Zealand
University of Lapland, Main Campus, Lecture room 6, 13-14.30

Meet the researcher:
The Lizard-eaters: Maori shamanic society against the New Zealand State
Arctic Centre, meeting room Thule, 14-14.30


ICASS IX, Umeå, Sweden, 8-12 June 2017
Conference session "Revisiting progress: Indigenous peoples, institutional inclusion and rights" (chair Jeffrey Sissons, Victoria University of Wellington)


Julian Reid talking about indigenizing climate migration in the international workshop Anthropocene Mobilities – The Politics of Movement in an Age of Change, Hamburg, Germany, 1-2 June, 2017


Julian Reid giving a keynote speech at IGHERT conference, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany, November 15, 2016


ECPR General Conference, Prague, September 7-10, 2016

Conference session "Indigeneity in Waiting: Critical Reflections on Power and Progress".


Open lectures:
Getting (over) Recognition?
Politics of Rights, Resilience and Resistance

Wednesday, April 20, 2016, 13.00-15.15
University of Lapland, Lecture room 16

Welcome, prof. Julian Reid, University of Lapland

Bal Sokhi-Bulley, Dr., Lecturer, School of Law, Queen's University Belfast:
Community Rights or a Right to Community? Rights, Responsibility and Resistance in Modern Britain

David Chandler, Professor of International Relations, Director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster:
Indigenous Knowledge and the Anthropocene: Thinking against the Digital

Reetta Toivanen, Finnish Academy Research Fellow, Adjunct Professor in Social and Cultural Anthropology, Erik Castren Institute of International Law and Human Rights, University of Helsinki:
On the Meaning and Consequences of ‘Translating’ Universal Human Rights Standards: Case Studies in the Arctic

Julian Reid, University of Lapland:
The Indigenous Subject: Dispossessed, Perseverant, Resilient

Tanja Joona, University of Lapland:
Land and Water Discourse in the Finnish Sámi Context – Legal and Political Perspectives

Marjo Lindroth & Heidi Sinevaara-Niskanen, University of Lapland:
(Dis)possessing Indigeneity: Critical Readings of Recognition as the Making of Subjects


Book Launch:
The Neoliberal Subject: Resilience, Adaptation and Vulnerability
David Chandler & Julian Reid

Thursday, April 21, 2016, 10.00-11.00
University of Lapland, Lecture room 8


Julian Reid lecturing in Peace Research Institute (PRIO), Oslo, Norway, February 29, 2016

Securing the Imagination: The Politics of the Resilient Self
In his lecture Julian Reid considers, critiques and extends psychological accounts of the function of imagination for the purpose of developing a better understanding of the politics of resilience.


Workshop: Indigeneity and the Promise of Inclusion
12 February 2016, University of Westminster, London.
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