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eBook formatPaperback, (torrent)En
PublisherYale University Press
File size5.4 Mb
Release date 01.09.1999
Pages count300
Book rating4.5 (15 votes)
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BA, Vassar College 1951
MA, Boston University 1960
PhD, Harvard University, 1967

Looking back over the 45 years since I first made the acquaintance of Eskimoic cultures, I find two focal interests: interpersonal (social and emotional) relationships in Inuit families and small groups, and Inuit language. These interests have grown in and out of each other and taken various shapes at various times. Most of my fieldwork has been with camp-dwelling Canadian Inuit but, in 1961-62, I visited Alaskan Inupiat and, in the 1990s, very briefly, Siberian Yupik. My writings have all concerned Canadian Inuit. I have written on the cultural construction of the vocabulary of emotion; family life; the management of hostility in hunting camps and families; the emotional underpinnings of "attachment" and of values like "nonviolence", "concern for others", and "autonomy"; the emotional texture of a small child's life and the socialization of small children into socially valued behaviour through playful interactions with adults; gender relations; the nature of "individuality" in relation to "culture"; the psychological uses of personal names; the conceptualization of time; and changes in the operation of some of the above values under modern conditions of living in villages and towns. Since 1995, I have focused more completely on linguistic matters. Three General Grants from the SSHRC have supported, and continue to support, a project to create, with colleagues in the Linguistics Departments of both Memorial University and the University of Toronto, a bipartite bilingual dictionary of the previously undocumented Utkuhiksalingmiut dialect of Inuktitut. This dialect was, and to some extent still is, spoken in the Central Arctic area where I have done a large part of the fieldwork described above. One part of the dictionary will contain word-bases; the other will contain affixes, the linguistic units that attach to bases to create words. Finally, in recent years, I have written, by request, a number of reflective, autobiographical pieces about the development of my ways of thinking and of doing anthropology, especially fieldwork. I have no allegiances to any particular brand of theory; my interpretations tend to develop from the ground up, using AS DATA personal experience and perspectives expressed, verbally or behaviourally, by the actors in an accumulation of small specific incidents - in a manner Piaget would recognize.. I also draw on psychoanalytic ideas when the data seem to point in their direction, especially those of Winnicott about play and Anna Freud about defense mechanisms; and I have discovered that my experientially derived ideas about how social learning occurs, in Inuit society and in my own, are very much in line with practice theory, which I recently encountered in the work of Jean Lave.

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