Aboriginal Conditions, Social Change and Inequality
The North is changing: its inhabitants living conditions, particularly those of Aboriginal communities, are being transformed significantly. Work is increasingly a commodity; consumerism is growing; industry is exploiting resources; and traditional economic activities are becoming redundant.
Measured in monetary terms, the standard of living has improved. But this progress has come at the expense of social and cultural changes that have not always been positive, such as greater social stratification, the fading of traditional roles and status, and the erosion of community values. Communities are also more likely to be characterized by state- and market-driven individualism than by the interdependence that once bound them.
Dr. Gérard Duhaime, Canada Research Chair in Comparative Aboriginal Conditions, seeks to examine the living conditions of contemporary societies and Aboriginal communities to uncover the forces that bring about change. His preferred approach is to focus on the interactions between economic, social and political conditions, which he brings to light using a sociological approach and interdisciplinary dialogue.
Duhaime and his team are involved in cutting-edge, multi-method research. The vast quantity of circumpolar social statistics available are linked to qualitative research projects on the ground. Through this research, the team is involved in the collective debate that is ongoing at the regional, national and international levels about the contemporary challenges facing Aboriginal living conditions and development.
Ultimately, their research will help shape public policy geared to eliminating inequality and helping Aboriginal Peoples to build their own futures.