The Identity Division of Labor in Native Alaska

Published on Mar 1, 2009in American Anthropologist
· DOI :10.1111/j.1548-1433.2009.01074.x
Lisa Frink6
Estimated H-index: 6
(UNLV: University of Nevada, Las Vegas)
ABSTRACT  There is often an implicit assumption that womens' technologies and associated tasks in subsistence-based groups are expedient and simple. For instance, in Native Alaska, the butchering of fish has been illustrated as arduous but uncomplicated work. On the contrary, closer examinations, as well as discussions with the people who are still learning and practicing subsistence tasks, indicate that this perspective is inaccurate. Instead, these taken-for-granted technologies and techniques require a lifetime of training and practice, and not all people achieve master status. Drawing from data from contemporary herring processing and the related tools of the trade, I explore the division of labor in the context of expertise and apprenticeship. [Keywords: apprenticeship, expertise, gender, age, Alaska]
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