The Inuit of Greenland: Doing Area Studies on the Compromise between Reciprocity and Utility

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It has been pointed out that the concept of the relationship between humans and nature held by Greenlands Inuit, in comparison with Alaska and Canada, contains a strong utilitarian perception that seeks to maximize, and which exists in compromise with, a reciprocal attitude towards nature. However, almost no work has been done to unravel the process in which, so to speak, such a mixture was created. This paper summarizes the joint research that posed the question why such a relationship between humans and nature, which is a compromise between reciprocity and utilitarianism, was formed. We focused our attention on three factors that have been addressed in previous research only partially and have not been examined thoroughly enough: A. fusion with Christianity, B. the processes of modernization and secularization, and C. the cultural and social role of elders in the Inuit society.


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