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Songlines and touchstones: A study of perinatal health and culture in Greenland

Ruth Montgomery-Andersen


This paper aims to focus on how family and community in Greenland perceive support- giving during the perinatal period. It explores Greenlanders use of storytelling as a health- promoting tool in the perinatal period. It is research set in Greenland, but analysed in a larger context. Using an ethnographic approach to subject matter, the paper is based on a series of qualitative interviews and focus groups conducted between 2003 and 2011 with mothers and fathers. Ethnographic content analysis, interviews and dialogues with Culture Bearers were used to analyse and set the stories into a cultural perspective. The child was described as the centre of the family and the family as the bedrock of life. The mothers, fathers and Culture Bearers presented three main concepts in their stories: 1) my family … a safe harbour, 2) the child as the centre of the family, and 3) the equal sharing of burden and joy.

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Print ISSN 1177-1801 Online ISSN 1174-1740