Life Beside Itself: Imagining Care in the Canadian Arctic

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9780520282605: Life Beside Itself: Imagining Care in the Canadian Arctic

In Life Beside Itself, Lisa Stevenson takes us on a haunting ethnographic journey through two historical moments when life for the Canadian Inuit has hung in the balance: the tuberculosis epidemic (1940s to the early 1960s) and the subsequent suicide epidemic (1980s to the present). Along the way, Stevenson troubles our commonsense understanding of what life is and what it means to care for the life of another. Through close attention to the images in which we think and dream and through which we understand the world, Stevenson describes a world in which life is beside itself: the name-soul of a teenager who dies in a crash lives again in his friend’s newborn baby, a young girl shares a last smoke with a dead friend in a dream, and the possessed hands of a clock spin uncontrollably over its face. In these contexts, humanitarian policies make little sense because they attempt to save lives by merely keeping a body alive. For the Inuit, and perhaps for all of us, life is somewhere else,” and the task is to articulate forms of care for others that are adequate to that truth.

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"Life Beside Itself is a profound reflection on the psychic life of biopolitics and how the biopolitical state, committed to enhancing the life of the population, renders lifeless a people’s particular form of life. Lisa Stevenson writes with attentiveness to the care that binds the living and the dead in Inuit communities. That is itself a form of ethical living. Her writing is surely touched by grace. Her book illuminates the problem of suicide as the light of the moon illuminates a darkened sky. She helps us not to turn away from this suffering but to hold it. This book is truly a treasure." Veena Das, author of Affliction: Health, Disease, Poverty

About the Author:

Lisa Stevenson is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at McGill University and the editor of Critical Inuit Studies: An Anthology of Contemporary Arctic Ethnography (2006).

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Book Description University of California Press, United States, 2014. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In Life Beside Itself, Lisa Stevenson takes us on a haunting ethnographic journey through two historical moments when life for the Canadian Inuit has hung in the balance: the tuberculosis epidemic (1940s to the early 1960s) and the subsequent suicide epidemic (1980s to the present). Along the way, Stevenson troubles our commonsense understanding of what life is and what it means to care for the life of another. Through close attention to the images in which we think and dream and through which we understand the world, Stevenson describes a world in which life is beside itself: the name-soul of a teenager who dies in a crash lives again in his friend s newborn baby, a young girl shares a last smoke with a dead friend in a dream, and the possessed hands of a clock spin uncontrollably over its face. In these contexts, humanitarian policies make little sense because they attempt to save lives by merely keeping a body alive. For the Inuit, and perhaps for all of us, life is somewhere else, and the task is to articulate forms of care for others that are adequate to that truth. Bookseller Inventory # AAH9780520282605

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Book Description University of California Press, United States, 2014. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In Life Beside Itself, Lisa Stevenson takes us on a haunting ethnographic journey through two historical moments when life for the Canadian Inuit has hung in the balance: the tuberculosis epidemic (1940s to the early 1960s) and the subsequent suicide epidemic (1980s to the present). Along the way, Stevenson troubles our commonsense understanding of what life is and what it means to care for the life of another. Through close attention to the images in which we think and dream and through which we understand the world, Stevenson describes a world in which life is beside itself: the name-soul of a teenager who dies in a crash lives again in his friend s newborn baby, a young girl shares a last smoke with a dead friend in a dream, and the possessed hands of a clock spin uncontrollably over its face. In these contexts, humanitarian policies make little sense because they attempt to save lives by merely keeping a body alive. For the Inuit, and perhaps for all of us, life is somewhere else, and the task is to articulate forms of care for others that are adequate to that truth. Bookseller Inventory # AAH9780520282605

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