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"It Is Windier Nowadays": coastal livelihoods and seascape-making in Qeqertarsuaq, West Greenland

New publication by Pelle Tejsner


Coastal fishermen and whalers on the island of Qeqertarsuaq in Disko Bay, west Greenland, have relied on the harvest of marine resources for the continuation of livelihoods across the generations. More recently, however, Qeqertarsuarmiut and other Inuit residents in other parts of the circumpolar North have increasingly been portrayed as somehow more ‘ exposed’ or ‘ vulnerable’ victims located on the frontline of a geographically determined global crisis narrative about climate change, which inadvertently ignores the reality of coastal livelihoods in the Arctic today. Qeqertarsuarmiut often narrate a different story about their experiences with environmental changes, which is instead rooted in their continued familiarity and engagement with non-human agents (such as winds, sea ice and marine mammals) as these are encountered during seasonal harvesting efforts along the coast. So while environmental fluctuations are certainly observed, interactions with a familiar coastal environment, nevertheless, continue to foster a relationship predicated on an enduring patience and concomitant flexibility towards shifting ice conditions, local weather vagaries and the moods of non-human agents rather than risks or vulnerable exposures.

Berghahn Books 2019