In defense of Dr. Erika Sarivaara

Annika Pasanen annika.pasanen at
Mon May 6 21:42:05 UTC 2013

Dear Elisabeth and Åse Mette,

thank you for your important statement. I totally agree with you.  
Discussion by Prof. Sammallahti and others in his FB site has nothing  
to do with scientific criticism. It is pure political lynching, and  
especially unethic one, because it's run by widely honoured scientific  
authority, whose opinions are expected to be based on scientific  
arguments and adequate sources. Those have been missing in this  
"discussion", as well as many other basic elements of constructive  
scientific criticism, which most certainly should be familiar to Prof.  
Sammallahti and all of us. For instance: giving criticism in a forum,  
where target of the criticism may participate in the discussion (Erika  
Sarivaara is not present in Facebook); no irrelevant speculations  
concerning private issues of the counterparty; handling scientific  
thesis as scientific thesis, not as instrument of politics (even if  
some parts of the thesis would have been used into political  
purposes). I feel sorry for all the participants and targets of this  
FB-fiasco and hope that it won't discourage us to study further  
different sensitive issues related to minority languages and identities.


Annika Pasanen
PhD Student in Finno-Ugrian Studies
University of Helsinki

Lainaus Scheller Elisabeth <elisabeth.scheller at>:

> Dear Erika Sarivaara, members of the URA-list, and other research colleagues
> Over the last couple of weeks, we have been made familiar with the  
> content of some discussions on Prof. Pekka Sammallahti's Facebook  
> site concerning Dr. Erika Sarivaara and her PhD thesis  
> Statuksettomat saamelaiset  
> <> Paikantumisia saamelaisuuden rajoilla<> (2012). In general, Sammallahti's site is none of our business and way beyond our interest. However, the current discussions of Sarivaara and her work signal such a striking absence of common decency that we find it necessary to point out the  
> following:
> In case anyone forgot: Sarivaara's thesis has been evaluated by a  
> scientific commitee of competent people in her field of research,  
> and it was accepted. Obviously, Sammallahti and some of his Facebook  
> friends find some aspects of Sarivaara's thesis problematic. That is  
> not problematic at all. What is problematic though, is their totally  
> disrespectful way of making fun of Sarivaara and her research in a  
> semiofficial forum on the Internet. Even her mental health has been  
> called into question.
> In fact, the comments on Prof. Sammallahti's Facebook site say  
> nothing at all about Erika Sarivaara. What they do say, is that some  
> people who find themselves in front of the research field they  
> pursue, seem to lack: 1) social media competence, and 2) basic  
> understanding of research ethics.
> In the future, we hope that the important questions that our  
> colleague raises in her thesis will be discussed in the  
> professional, scientific, and, last but not least, respectful way  
> that Sarivaara, like any other researcher, deserves.
> Thanks.
> With kind regards,
> Elisabeth Scheller
> PhD Student in Saami sociolinguistics
> University of Tromsø
> elisabeth.scheller at<mailto:elisabeth.scheller at>
> Åse Mette Johansen
> PhD Student in Nordic languages
> University of Tromsø
> ase.mette.johansen at<mailto:ase.mette.johansen at>

Annika Pasanen
Tutkimushanke "Vähemmistökieliyhteisöjen voimaantumisen ja  
revitalisaation trendejä EU:ssa ja Venäjällä"
Suomen kielen, suomalais-ugrilaisten ja pohjoismaisten kielten ja  
kirjallisuuksien laitos, Helsingin yliopisto

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