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Kalaalimernit: the Greenlandic taste for local foods in a globalised world

  • Frank Sowa (a1)

In recent years, a decline in the consumption of local foods (kalaalimernit) can be observed in Greenland. However, its appreciation and symbolisation is increasing and kalaalimernit are a powerful contemporary symbol for being Greenlandic. The present article argues that kalaalimernit, as a specifically Greenlandic taste, are suited to marking and maintaining a cultural boundary in relation to the Danish people living in the country, a boundary constructed through identity politics. As the empirical findings from fieldwork conducted in the Greenlandic capital Nuuk and the small coastal settlement Oqaatsut demonstrate, this construction is subject to social change. Greenlanders advocate two different narrative patterns regarding how kalaalimernit are to be understood that stem from contemporary definitional struggles over what kind of cultural boundary is deemed important to demarcate. The struggle illustrates two different perceptions of Greenland as either an indigenous people and/or a small Nordic nation.

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