Near the Floe Edge

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"For decades, the lives of First Nations, Métis and Inuit women have been surrounded with silence. While northern research has rapidly expanded since the early 2000s, very little attention is been paid to northern women's roles. Although feminist economists and geographers have highlighted the importance of gaining a fuller understanding of economic roles for both sexes, little of this work has addressed contemporary gender dynamics among Inuit or other Arctic Indigenous peoples. Thus, gender is an emerging topic in Arctic research and remains poorly understood. Recognizing the growing gap of knowledge regarding Inuit women and their activities, my dissertation examines Inuit women's roles within the transformed socioeconomic environment of Nunavut. Using semi-structured interviews, economic diaries, life history calendar and time usage chart, I gather both qualitative and quantitative socioeconomic data in the community of Clyde River, Nunavut. Through a multi-scale analysis I develop a comprehensive account of Inuit women's contributions in subsistence, domestic and wage work since the 1980s. Research results show that the ways women and men engaged in work-related activities are deeply connected to socioeconomic relationships and to the organization of norms, expectations and obligations in Inuit culture. Moreover, Inuit women are increasingly becoming the main monetary providers for their household and, concomitantly, are experiencing an increase in their provisioning responsibilities. My investigation also reveals that wage-work is both experienced as empowering and disempowering by female participants depending on broader social dynamics. Finally, results illustrate the way economic development is experienced by Inuit women amidst modern conditions and how gender is crucial in the understanding of economic life in northern communities."--

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