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Les Inughuit, chasseurs de narvals. Évolution et adaptations des savoirs et savoir-faire dans un environnement en changement

Abstract : This thesis presents, in the form of a monograph based on several field works, the knowledge and skill of the Inughuit narwhal hunters, in northwest Greenland. Through abundant iconography and by putting into perspective of the practices of early twentieth century hunters and those of current ones, it highlights how the Inughuit combine resilience and creativity. Narwhal hunters favour equipment and kayaks whose design, with the skills and knowledge they require, connect them to their ancestors. By perpetuating narwhal hunting from kayak, they combine dexterity of gesture, extreme physical skills, attention to the environment and the animals, with their community traditions. While opening up to modernity gives them access to motorized vehicles, hunters, to go to the hunting grounds in the spring, load their kayaks on dog sledges. This thesis examines their choice and shows the special place that hunters give to interspecies dialogue with animals they consider to be intentioned and endowed with intelligence. In parallel, this study investigates the impact on traditional practices of new regulations to protect narwhals in what is a breeding area. Economic necessities and environmental changes due to climate modifications, compel hunters to turn to other sources of income, to adapt to other rules inspired by them opening up to a market society and induce a different relationship to the environment. Thus, hunters have created a cooperative that markets the mattaaq of the narwhals they have harpooned during the summer season and halibut whose fishing they have developed during the sea ice season. The study conducted in the four villages of the region, notes the influence of this evolution on the appropriation and redistribution of killed game, in a community regulated by mutual aid and sharing. While the Inughuit, in an approach combining creativity and resilience, open their world to globalization, narwhal hunting, deeply rooted in ancestral relationships with the environment and animals, continues to provide the community, not only access to meat and mattaaq, but also a link with its past, a cohesion around its cultural heritage, and constitutes a specific identity-based practice, bearing regulatory norms.
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Christiane Drieux. Les Inughuit, chasseurs de narvals. Évolution et adaptations des savoirs et savoir-faire dans un environnement en changement. Sociologie. Université Paris sciences et lettres, 2019. Français. ⟨NNT : 2019PSLEP024⟩. ⟨tel-02796560⟩

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