Kinship, Family, and Exchange in a Labrador Inuit Community
Kirk Dombrowski (corresponding author)
Kinship, family and household have received considerable attention in Inuit studies; this paper takes a comparative, social networks approach to these issues. Here kinship connections are represented in network form as a composite of individual kinship dyads of descent, co-parentage, or siblingship. The composite kinship network is then used as a standard of measure for the pair-wise distances of exchange/dependency dyads appearing in other social networks within the community (including the country food distribution network, store-bought food sharing network, traditional knowledge network, alcohol co-use network, household wellness network, job referrals network, and the housing network). This analysis allows us to gauge the role that kinship (of various distances, including household and family) plays in structuring exchanges across these various network domains. The data used here was collected in Nain, Labrador in January – June, 2010. From 330 interviews we extracted more than 4900 exchanges and patterns of helping relationships among the 749 current adult residents of the community, and more than 10,000 kinship connections among a total of 1687 individuals directly linked by descent or marriage/co-parentage. The results of this analysis show that past emphasis on kin-oriented exchange in Inuit communities has mistakenly emphasized the nature of the exchange item (traditional versus store-bought/cash economy), missing important data on the nature of the exchange itself (reciprocal or one-way).
Keywords: Inuit, Labrador, Social Network Analysis, Kinship, Subsistence, Exchange
Network Sampling of Social Divisions in a Rural Inuit Community
Kirk Dombrowski (corresponding author)
This paper describes results from a network survey of Nain—a predominantly Inuit community of ~1200 people located on the northern coast of Labrador. As part of a larger social network research project, we used peer-referral sampling in the recruitment of 330 respondents for interviews about food sharing, housing, public health, and community traditions. The peer-referral chains were analyzed to determine the extent to which recruitment patterns demonstrate the presence and absence of social divisions in the community. The results of these analyses show that ethnic identification, relocation status, and household income were the most significant social divisions in the community, while gender, education level, and employment status show little or no effect on patterns of between group interconnection. We argue that statistical patterns in the presence (and absence) of intergroup links offer novel ways to examine the inter-relationship between recent economic development and the historical disruptions caused by Inuit community relocations in the 1950s. The representativeness of the sample data is established by comparison with Statistics Canada Census figures for Nain.
Keywords: Inuit, Labrador, Respondent Driven Sampling, Social Network Analysis, Inequality, Sampling
2012 FUNDING ROUND
PIs: Anthony Marcus and Chitra Raghavan
Methodologist: Kirk Dombrowski
Partner Organization: Trickle Up India & Trickle Up New York
Sept 21, 2012
A Social Network Analysis among Ultra-Poor Women in Eastern India
This research will examine the impact of poverty alleviation graduation programs on the social networks, social capital, and socio-economic outcomes of women living in ultra-poverty with the goal of developing new understandings of the nature of ultra-poverty and pathways out of that poverty. It draws on an assessment of a CGAP/Ford Foundation supported graduation program for the ultra-poor implemented by Trickle Up in northeast India, and implements the social network assessment techniques developed by SNRG for research in Inuit communities in Labrador, Canada. The proposal involves the novel use of validated social network research methods for the purpose of assessment and enhancement of the efficacy, scalability and sustainability of livelihoods programming for women and their households living in ultra-poverty.
This past week, Kirk Dombrowski and Colleen Syron from the SNRG team traveled to Nain, Labrador, to complete the community consultation and reporting requirements for the Nain Networks Project. The consultation and reporting featured an interview on the local radio station, an open community meeting, and a meeting with members of both the local community government, the Nunatsiavut Government, employees of the Newfoundland Labrador Department of Child, Youth and Family Services. Those who attended the meetings received a Project Brief which discussed the initial results of the project. The project data was archived with the Research Advisory Committee of the Nunatsiavut Government for their future use, along with a large report the analysis undertaken to project the Brief. With the reporting requirements and consultation process completed, we expect to begin publishing the results of the project for academic and policy consideration shortly.
A draft of the final report on the Nain Networks Project was submitted to the Research Committee of the Nunatsiavut Government (the governing body of the indigenous autonomous area created in Labrador Canada by the 2006 Labrador Inuit Land Settlement Agreement). After comments are received, a revised, final report will be posted here. The report describes the research and results of a social network research project carried out in Nain Labrador between January and June, 2010, by the CUNY Social Networks Research Group. The study involved interviews with 330 adult residents of the community over 5 ½ months. The centerpiece of the research was a social network survey in which adult residents of Nain were asked to name those individuals in the community from whom they regularly received help (or to whom they would turn if they found themselves in need of help) in eight network domains: Country Food, Store-Bought Food, Traditional Knowledge, Domestic Violence Referrals and Household Wellness, Alcohol Co-Use, Youth Support, Housing, and Jobs. Participants in the interviews were asked questions like: “If you did not have any country food (wild meat or fish), who would most likely go to? Have you received any wild meat or fish from this person in the last year? How long ago? What and how much did you receive? Do you ever share back with that person?” In all, more than 14,900 links were documented among 1697 persons, including 10,000 kinship connections among past and present community members, and more than 4900 social network connections among today’s 773 adult residents of Nain.