Transnational ties, urban networks and identity formation among Inuit...


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Title Transnational ties, urban networks and identity formation among Inuit migrants in Southern Canada and Denmark
Period 01 / 2009 - 12 / 2012
Status Current
Dissertation Yes
Research number OND1333644
Data Supplier Website GIA


The research project Transnational ties, urban networks and identity formation among Inuit migrants in Southern Canada and Denmark is an anthropological research on Inuit who have left the Arctic and have settled in urban areas of Southern Canada and Denmark. So far limited research on this topic has been conducted. According to recent research (2007) by The North Atlantic Group in the Danish Parliament 18.563 Greenlanders live in Denmark. Another study estimates that 12.040 individuals born in Greenland live in Denmark (Togeby 2002). [1] Despite this difference, the figures manifest that a considerable amount of Greenlanders live in Denmark. Especially when one takes into account that the total population of Greenland is 57.000. Also in Canada a substantial part of the Inuit population lives outside the Arctic. In 2006 22% of the 50.485 Canadian Inuit lived outside the so-called Inuit Nunaat (Inuit homeland). Of all Canadian Inuit 17% now lives in urban settings outside Inuit Nunaat. This comes down to 8.395 Inuit (Statistics Canada: 2006 Census ). This research project focuses on a relatively unknown group of Inuit, that is Inuit outside the Arctic. Some ingrained prejudices exist about Inuit in Southern Canada and Denmark and this project plans to give a better understanding of the situation of Inuit in the South, for example by paying substantial attention to successful Inuit. At the same time this research also gives a better understanding of the problems Inuit migrants encounter in the South. Furthermore this research sheds a light on the connection between Inuit in the South and Inuit in the Arctic. In this context the concept of transnationalism is used and refers to the fact that Inuit in the North and Inuit in the South live in different geographical spaces, feel related in one way or another, and maintain social relations with each other (Gowricharn 2006:5). A transnational approach enables us to gain more insight into the consequences of migration from the North. Another important aspect of this research is the fact that it examines the differences between Inuit migration in a very heterogeneous country (Canada) and a more homogeneous country (Denmark). The overall purpose of this project is to understand the consequences of migration from the North to the South for Inuit migrants. Relevant questions are: what relations do Inuit migrants maintain with their place of origin (transnational ties) and in which networks do they partake in their current place of residence? Secondly what are the consequences of migration on identity formation among Inuit migrants? Also, how are Inuit migrants perceived by others through time, both in the Arctic and in the South? And last but not least which differences between the situation of Inuit migrants in Southern Canada and Denmark can be identified? These questions lead to two main research questions. The first research question is: in which networks (transnational and local/urban) are Inuit migrants in Southern Canadian and Danish cities involved? The second research question is: what are the individual and collective consequences of the migration of Inuit migrants to the South for their identity formation? The research project will be based on both qualitative and quantitative data. Fieldwork (participant observation, interviews, life stories) supplemented with statistical data (e.g. age, educational background, profession, salary, living conditions (housing) of Inuit migrants in Southern Canada and Denmark) and archival research form the basis for this project. The intention is to collect data in the four major Danish cities, i.e. Ã…rhus, Aalborg, Odense and Copenhagen, and three Canadian cities, i.e. Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto or Edmonton. In addition, fieldwork in Greenland and Nunavut/Nunavik will complement the data, especially with regard to transnational ties.

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Supervisor Prof.dr. L. Hacquebord
Doctoral/PhD student T.K. Terpstra

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