, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 288–309 | Cite as

Reimagining the Iglu: Modernity and the Challenge of the Eighteenth Century Labrador Inuit Winter House



The Inuit sod winter house or iglu has undergone a host of alterations over the past millennium, as housing styles were accommodated to changing local milieus during the colonization of the Eastern Arctic. Many of these changes relate to subtle shifts in gendered work and household social relations, and in Labrador from the eighteenth century some appear to reflect engagements with a more or less hostile European discourse on architectural modernity. Far from a static form subjected to convulsive contact-era transformations, however, dwellings were gradually remade in the context of a long-running Inuit effort to house work and sociality within a meaningful space.


Iglu Labrador Inuit Social Relations The Body Work 


La maison inuite hivernale en tourbe, aussi connue sous le nom d’iglou, a connu toute une série de modifications durant le dernier millénaire, alors que le style du logement s’adaptait aux changements du milieu local durant la colonisation de l’Arctique de l’Est. Plusieurs de ces changements sont liés à de subtiles modifications dans la division du travail et l’organisation des relations sociales de la maisonnée et au Labrador, à partir du 18ième siècle, certaines semblent refléter des engagements avec un discourt européen, plus ou moins hostile, sur la modernité architecturale. Les habitations, loin d’être de forme statique, sont sujettes aux transformations convulsives de l’ère du contact, cependant dans le contexte d’un long effort des Inuit, elles ont graduellement été refaites comme espace significatif de travail et d’interactions sociales.


En los últimos mil años, la casa de hielo de los Inuit, conocida con el nombre de “iglú”, ha sufrido una serie de alteraciones para adaptar su estilo a los medios locales cambiantes durante la colonización del Ártico oriental. Muchas de estas alteraciones están relacionadas con cambios sutiles en el trabajo propio de cada sexo y con las relaciones sociales domésticas; desde el siglo dieciocho en el Labrador algunos cambios parecen reflejar un discurso más o menos hostil sobre la arquitectura moderna. Lejos de ser una forma estática sometida a las transformaciones de una era de contactos convulsivos, estos hogares se reformaron poco a poco por el afán de los Inuit de alojar el trabajo y las relaciones sociales dentro de un espacio significativo.

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Copyright information

© World Archaeological Congress 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anthropology and ArchaeologyMemorial University of NewfoundlandSt. John’sCanada

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