272 pages, 6 x 9
29 b&w figures and tables
Release Date:01 Jul 2008
Release Date:15 Nov 2007
Release Date:01 Jul 2008


Rethinking Political Culture

UBC Press

Nunavut: Rethinking Political Culture explores the complex processes at work in the generation of political cultures. Drawing upon extensive fieldwork and quantitative analysis, it provides the first systematic, empirical study of political life in Nunavut, offering comprehensive analysis of the evolving nature of aboriginal self-government in the Arctic and shedding crucial light on Inuit–non-Inuit relations.

Political culture in Nunavut has long been characterized by different approaches to political life: traditional Inuit attitudes toward governance, federal aspirations for the political integration of Inuit, and territorial strategies for institutional development. Ailsa Henderson links these features to contemporary political attitudes and behaviour, concluding that a distinctive political culture is emerging in Nunavut.

Original and provocative, Nunavut explores political attitudes, behaviour, and institutions in Nunavut before, during, and after the creation of the new territory, challenging our understandings of how political cultures are generated and sustained.

This book will appeal to political scientists, sociologists, and others interested in culture and politics, Aboriginal studies, and northern development.


  • 2008, Shortlisted - Donald Smiley Book Prize, Canadian Political Science Association
This is a pioneer text tracing the shaping of a new political entity. It will be a useful source of material on indigenous governance. Lawyers working in the field of aboriginal affairs will find it to be a guideline for them in Inuit to Non Inuit relations. Ronald F. MacIsaac, Barrister, Issue 87
Ailsa Henderson’s Nunavut: Rethinking Political Culture is an exemplary work asking the question of how well a population with set attitudes and behaviours copes with having institutions foisted upon them over a short period of time. […] The author makes a convincing case that the mismatch of institutions and political culture continues to have ramifications for the peoples and governance of Nunavut. […] For those interested in the political life of Canada’s Arctic population, decentralisation, and the interconnectedness of institutional design and political behavior, Ailsa Henderson’s Nunavut: Rethinking Political Culture is a worthy addition to the bookshelf. Thomas J. Scotto, University of Essex, British Journal of Canadian Studies, Vol. 21.2, Autumn 2008
This is a pioneer text on the shaping of political life in Nunavut as a new political entity. It will be a useful source of material on indigenous self-governance. Lawyers working in the field of aboriginal affairs will be pleased on the commentary provided on Inuit and non-Inuit relations. Ronald F. MacIsaac, Verdict, Issue 116
This is an original book that many of us will want to use in our teaching and research right away. As the first study of political culture in Nunavut, it is very satisfying that so much information has been gathered and analysed. It will be of great interest to residents and students of Nunavut, and will certainly be used by the larger community of scholars interested in territorial political development, Indigenous governance, and the relationship of political and institutional change in general. Frances Abele, School of Public Policy and Administration, Carleton University, and former Deputy Director of Research for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples
Ailsa Henderson is a senior lecturer in the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh.

Tables and Illustrations



1 Introduction

2 Politics in Nunavut

3 Inuit Political Culture

4 Political Integration in the Eastern Arctic

5 Institutional Design in the Eastern Arctic

6 Consensus Politics

7 Political Participation in Nunavut

8 Ideological Diversity in Nunavut

9 Transforming Political Culture in Nunavut

10 Cultural Pluralism and Political Culture





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