Telling Our Selves / Edition 1

Telling Our Selves / Edition 1

by Chase Hensel
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0195094778

ISBN-13: 2900195094779

Pub. Date: 11/28/1996

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

In this book, Chase Hensel examines how Yup'ik Eskimos and non-natives construct and maintain gender and ethnic identities through strategic talk about hunting, fishing, and processing. Although ethnicity is overtly constructed in terms of either/or categories, the discourse of residents of Bethel, Alaska suggests that their actual concern is less with whether one is

Overview

In this book, Chase Hensel examines how Yup'ik Eskimos and non-natives construct and maintain gender and ethnic identities through strategic talk about hunting, fishing, and processing. Although ethnicity is overtly constructed in terms of either/or categories, the discourse of residents of Bethel, Alaska suggests that their actual concern is less with whether one is native or non-native than with how native one is in a given context. In the interweaving of subsistence practices and subsistence discourses, ethnicity is constantly recreated.

This type of discourse occurs in a conversational setting where ethnicity is both implicitly and explicitly contested. While the book is ethnographic, it is not "about Eskimos." Rather it is about how Bethel residents use similar forms of discourse to strategically validate disparate identities. In this context -- the homeland of Yup'ik Eskimos -- subsistence is the focus of people's interactions, regardless of their ascriptive ethnicity. Even those who spend little time in subsistence activities spend a great deal of time in subsistence conversation. Unlike traditional ethnographies which focus on traditions, and consequently tend to reify the past, this contemporary ethnography focuses on contemporary preoccupations of identity and meaning. The ethnographic description becomes a device for preserving and explicating the polysemy of situated talk.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2900195094779
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
11/28/1996
Series:
Oxford Studies in Anthropological Linguistics Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
232

Table of Contents

Introduction3
Overview3
Why Bethel?6
Subsistence and Discourse7
Subsistence as an Economic Activity?7
Deconstructing the Economic Analysis of Subsistence12
Negotiated Gender and Ethnicity14
Mutual Influences15
Fieldwork16
Chapter 1Ethnographic Background and Post-Contact History of the Area19
Jigging for Pike19
Introduction21
Geology and Topography of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta21
Wildlife22
Local Villages23
Bethel26
Subsistence: Past, Present, and Future31
Traditional Housing and Gender Roles34
Traditional Yup'ik Beliefs40
Early Twentieth-Century Seasonal Rounds42
Chapter 2Contemporary Practices and Ideologies47
Drift Netting for King Salmon47
Introduction49
Changes in Migration Patterns and Resource Use52
Changing Technologies and Techniques of Subsistence53
Changes in Preservation Techniques and Utilization55
Trade, Contact, and Changing Local Diets56
Contemporary Seasonal Rounds in Lower Kuskokwim Villages57
Subsistence Calendar58
Contemporary Yup'ik Gender and Family Roles and Subsistence59
Subsistence As An Integrated Activity64
Subsistence Practices in Bethel69
Contemporary Yup'ik Ideologies About Hunting and Fishing70
Non-Native Ideologies About Hunting and Fishing72
Fish and Game Stocks to Support Future Subsistence in Bethel75
Regulating Subsistence76
Chapter 3Subsistence, Identity, and Meaning81
Cutting Salmon for Drying and Smoking81
Introduction82
Creating and Maintaining Identity84
Boundaries and Boundary Marking87
Boundaries, Stereotypes, and Practice91
Stereotypes of Inuit: Historical and Contemporary Views94
Non-Native Envy of Subsistence Skills and Subsistence as an Identity Marker96
Yup'ik Practice as It Affects Non-Native Practice97
Chapter 4Subsistence as an Identity Marker103
Picking Blueberries103
Subsistence as a Marker for a Yup'ik Identity104
Subsistence as a Marker for a Non-Native Rural Alaskan Identity106
Talk of Practice for Yupiit and Non-Natives107
Specific Subsistence Practices as Markers of Identity109
Chapter 5Development and the Marking of Gender and Ethnicity113
My First Memorable Steambath113
Introduction115
Nondifferential Effects of Cultural Change115
History of Wage Labor116
The Gendered Construction of Work119
Changes in Yup'ik Gender Spaces123
The Steambath as an Institution123
Changes in Gender Relations and Power126
Outmarriage Reexamined133
The Continuing Symbolic Importance of Subsistence134
Gender Differences, Discourse Similarities137
Chapter 6Yup'ik Gourmands: Food and Ethnicity139
Setting a Winter Net Under the Ice for Whitefish139
Checking the Net141
Eating for Pleasure Versus Eating to Survive142
Yup'ik "Cooking"146
Changing Attitudes and Diets149
Food as an Identity Marker149
Chapter 7Subsistence Discourse as Practice153
Ptarmigan Hunting by Snow Machine153
Introduction154
Practice/Structuration Theory154
Family Systems Theory157
Contextualization Conventions and Sociolinguistics159
Summary of Strategic Moves in Example 4172
Subsistence Discourse as Practice178
Native, Non-Native, How Native? Ethnicity on a Continuum of Practice179
Conclusion187
Notes191
References203
Index214

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