• It's so good to be back: explorations of subsistence in Alaska

      Magdanz, James; Greenberg, Joshua; Carothers, Courtney; Chapin, F. Stuart III; Goodreau, Steven (2020-05)
      This dissertation explores some aspects of contemporary hunter-gatherer economies in Alaska, with an emphasis on quantitative approaches. Written in manuscript-style, the focus is on four decades beginning about 1980, which coincided with legal recognition of hunter-gatherer activities as "subsistence," and with expanded subsistence data collection efforts. Subsistence is viewed through four theoretical frames: socio-ecological resilience, political ecology, social networks, and food security. Principles of common-pool resource management are reviewed, as are legal frames unique to Alaska that limited possible approaches to management and resulted in a fragmented management systems. In the body of the dissertation, the first article explores trends in rural community populations, wild food harvests, and personal incomes over time, identifies factors associated with subsistence harvests, models subsistence productivity, and estimates road effects on harvests and income. The second article uses household-level social network and economic data from two Iñupiat communities to explore hypotheses designed to test an assumed transition from wild food dependence to market dependence. The third article combines concepts of sensitivity and adaptive capacity drawn from vulnerability literature to explore differences in household characteristics within and between three Alaska communities. The discussion adopts a political ecology approach, introducing narrative discourses of subsistence in Alaska, comparing subsistence narrative discourses with the results the larger body of resilience, network analysis, and food security literature. It demonstrates how the same objective facts could drive competing narratives, and how resource management itself was subject to narrative construction.