This thesis deals with personal and collective memories of industrialization in the Disko Bay area in Greenland, focusing on how people remember their local agency during these seminal transitional years. After the introduction of Self-Government in 2009, the young, postcolonial nation is currently revisiting its written history, reorienting its collective memories and reinterpreting its cultural heritage. Managing the role of the past in the present is central to cultural identifications in the current and continual debates about a future characterized by cultural autonomy and, ultimately, independence.The main argument in this dissertation is that whereas the theme of industrialization is often associated with a discourse of Greenlanders as victims of development, the memories of people who worked with the natural resources in the mining and the fishing industries offer alternative and pivotal narratives that often contain the emotion of pride and a sense of strong personal agency. These personal memories have not been inscribed in history books or museum exhibitions, they have not entered the archives, and their absence remains a problem for historical self-knowledge.Further, the dissertation argues that personal and collective memory practices enter dynamic and complex relations, and that emotions are crucial in these processes. Over time, emotional memory practices may have the capacity to transform even ‘soft’ agency in personal memories into strong, potentially political agency for change.
Ph.d. afhandling forsvaret 31. maj 2017