Book , Print in English

Life beside itself : imagining care in the Canadian Arctic

Lisa Stevenson.
  • Oakland, California : University of California Press, [2014]
  • Copyright Notice: ©2014
  • xiii, 251 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
  • Eisenhower M Level Reserves
    RC314 .S74 2014 c. 1
    Available
  • Institute of the History of Medicine Books - Stack Level 6, Welch Library
    RC314 .S74 2014 c. 1
    Checked out
    Checked out, Due: Mar 19 2018
    Another patron is currently using this item. Use BorrowDirect to request a different copy. For additional help, ask a library staff member.
Subjects
Medical Subjects
Summary
  • " In Life Beside Itself, Lisa Stevenson takes us on a haunting ethnographic journey through two historical moments when life for the Canadian Inuit has hung in the balance: the tuberculosis epidemic (1940s to the early 1960s) and the subsequent suicide epidemic (1980s to the present). Along the way, Stevenson troubles our common sense understanding of what life is and what it means to care for the life of another. Through close attention to the images in which we think and dream and through which we understand the world, Stevenson describes a world in which life is beside itself: the name-soul of a teenager who dies in a crash lives again in his friend's newborn baby, a young girl shares a last smoke with a dead friend in a dream, and the possessed hands of a clock spin uncontrollably over its face. In these contexts, humanitarian policies make little sense because they attempt to save lives by merely keeping a body alive. For the Inuit, and perhaps for all of us, life is "somewhere else," and the task is to articulate forms of care for others that are adequate to that truth"--
  • "This ethnographic study examines two historical moments in the Canadian Arctic: the Inuit tuberculosis epidemic (1940s to the early 1960s) and the subsequent suicide epidemic (1980s to the present). The colonial Canadian North was imagined as a laboratory for a social experiment to transform Inuit into bona fide Canadian citizens by, among other things, reducing their death rate. This experiment demanded Inuit cooperation with the forms of anonymous care the state provided--including the evacuation of tubercular Inuit Southern Sanatoria, which left many Inuit families without the story or image of their loved one's death. A similar indifference to who lives or dies is manifest in the adoption of the "suicide hotline"--an explicitly anonymous form of care where caregivers exhort unidentified Inuit to live while simultaneously expecting them to die. Through attention to the images through which people think and dream, Stevenson describes a world in which life is "beside itself": the name-soul of a teenager who dies in a crash lives again in his friend's newborn baby, a young girl shares a last smoke with a dead friend in a dream, the possessed hands of a clock spin uncontrollably over its face. For the Inuit, life is "somewhere else," and Stevenson attempts to articulate forms of care adequate to that truth"--
Contents
  • Between two women
  • Facts and images
  • Cooperating
  • Anonymous care
  • Life-of-the-name
  • Why two clocks?
  • Song
  • Writing on styrofoam.
Other information
  • Includes bibliographical references (pages 217-242) and index.
ISBN
  • 9780520282605 (Cloth : alk. paper)
  • 0520282604 (Cloth : alk. paper)
  • 9780520282940 (Paper : alk. paper)
  • 0520282949 (Paper : alk. paper)
Identifying numbers
  • LCCN: 2014006556
  • OCLC: 876431956
  • OCLC: 876431956