A Surrender to Sila: Human-Snow Relations in Ilulissat, Kalaallit Nunaat
MetadataShow full item record
Human-snow relations in Ilulissat, Kalaallit Nunaat [Greenland] are part of a larger assemblage (Bennett 2010) that shapes the everyday practices and lifeworlds of local residents. In some ways, snow is a limiting force, as it e.g. complicates certain ways of movement, takes up space or steals away body heat. However, snow is also the foundation for certain Indigenous practices such as dog sledge riding, hunting and ice fishing in Ilulissat. These practices are not only essential for a sustainable life in an Arctic climate, but have a potential to serve as inspiration for more sustainable relations to nonhuman actors across the planet. The dynamics of the assemblage of which humansnow relations in Ilulissat are a part can therefore be understood through what Ingold (2000) describes as an ecology of life, which challenges any notion of a “nature-culture” dichotomy. Snow itself is an ever present entity during the long winter months in Ilulissat. It covers houses, doorways, roads, cars, mountains, sleeping dogs – and it shapes the landscape, reconfigures town infrastructures, as well as it makes (im)possible certain human doings. Snow therefore possesses a vibrant materiality (Bennett 2010), in itself, through its capacities to e.g. shape shift, move, take up space, be a source of life and produce impressions. However, snow harvests its agency from producing affect in the world through action (Sundberg 2021), as it relates to other matter. The assemblage in which human-snow relations is a part, is therefore made of and influenced by the agency of both human and nonhuman actors.