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This paper may be of particular interest to:  Practicing and Applied Anthropologists     Students
Type: Paper
Paper Title: THE SOCIAL NETWORKS OF HUNTERS, ANIMALS, SPIRITS AND TECHNOLOGY AMONG ANCESTRAL INUIT IN THE CANADIAN ARCTIC
Author: MARIE-PIERRE GADOUA   
Date/Time: Thu., 4:15 PM
Co-Author(s): MARIE-PIERRE GADOUA 
Abstract: This paper addresses social interaction and differentiation among Prehistoric Thule communities in the Canadian Arctic (ca. AD 1000-1600) through an analysis of Thule material culture. I advocate the use of sociological and social-psychological theoretical frameworks to better understand these Thule relations. Following the work of the sociologist Gabriel Tarde, I suggest abandoning abstract concepts, such as social structure or society, which are often difficult to relate to archaeological datasets. Instead, I propose placing increased emphasis on relationships between individuals, and between humans and non-human agents (such as animals and technology). Latour’s concept of network offers to archaeologists a valuable methodological tool to reconstruct human relationships in which non-human agents participate actively. It allows us to examine the interplay of various factors affecting simultaneously the relationships between humans and non-human agents: social, political, economical, ecological, spiritual, technological, and material. I employ such networks in reinterpreting the hunting technology from two well-known archaeological sites in the Canadian Arctic: Clachan and Ruin Island. These sites represent early migrations from coastal Alaska into the Eastern Arctic. I suggest that harpoons are critical mediators in the ecological and spiritual relations between Thule hunters and animals. They are also fundamental actors in the construction, maintenance and negotiation of personal and group identities and relations. I argue that those networks involving hunters, animals, spirits and technology invite the study of harpoons to contribute to a fuller understanding of the social and spiritual lives of Thule hunters, in the context of group differentiation and migration.

Program Number: 2-0800
Session Title: MOTION CHECK: ARCHAEOLOGICAL INSIGHTS ON THE CIRCULATION OF SUBJECTS AND OBJECTS
Session Sponsor: Archaeology Division
Session Date/Time: Thu., 1:45 PM-5:30 PM
Organizer(s): DAVID PETERSON, ALAN GREENE (University of Chicago) 
Chair(s): SARAH GRAFF (University of Chicago)  
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