Greenland is a self-declared welfare society. In the present-day political discussions around ind ... Read more
Greenland is a self-declared welfare society. In the present-day political discussions around independence, welfare is, paradoxically, a cornerstone in the political understanding of the country - and at the same time we see a lack of activity concerning new legislation, countrywide welfare strategies or communicated municipal social policies. Greenland is facing severe challenges when it comes to key areas such as cross-sectional efforts in stabilizing the social services concerning children, adolescents and families. We are experiencing a rise in violence against women, poverty and homelessness with an increase in Greenlanders leaving the country in search for better futures in Denmark. Historically, the social political focus was on children - together with widowers and the elderly. They formed the basis need for social services. Well-functioning adults, historically men, were the patriarchs of a society centered around hunting - in a Durkheimian mechanic system, where every member of the community had an important function. The shift from hunting to fishing in the 1910s coincided with a grand municipal plan, designed by the colonial power of Denmark, and called for structured social services. In modern times, the social policies of Greenland have officially been a matter of the Greenlandic people (since the Homerule Act of 1979). However, a more in-depth look at Greenland’s social history reveals a somewhat autonomous decision-making process since 1968. In light of a modern call for social political awareness, this chapter discusses the challenges of implementing Greenlandic social policies with a longitudinal focus.
In this chapter, we examine the ways in which socio-structural forms—particularly social differen ... Read more
In this chapter, we examine the ways in which socio-structural forms—particularly social difference and social policy—frame the reproduction of houselessness and homelessness amongst Greenlanders in Nuuk, Greenland. In addition to examining the forms of marginalization embodied by Greenlanders experiencing housing insecurity, we suggest that rising urban homelessness in Greenland represents the social dimensions of resettlement, rural-urban migration and social welfare institutionalization in local processes of urbanization. Moreover, the absence of specific social policy attention towards homelessness in general, and towards marginalized single adults specifically, is especially concerning. This policy gap serves to reproduce rural-urban homeless geographies in Greenland and between Greenland and Denmark, resulting not only in an increasing number of Greenlanders experiencing housing insecurity, but also in institutional geographies of homeless mobility that reflect persistent colonial relations embedded in resettlement and institutionalized social welfare.
Greenland experienced a 5-week lockdown during the COVID-19 crisis. The lockdown effectively took ... Read more
Greenland experienced a 5-week lockdown during the COVID-19 crisis. The lockdown effectively took out all public social support and food supply for people experiencing homelessness in the capital Nuuk. This woke up Greenland’s social conscience in the form of a local NGO’s mobilization of voluntary social helpers. Luckily nobody in the homeless environment got infected and suffered needlessly. From a social policy perspective, we can take three experiences away from the pandemic. Firstly, a clear learning experience from this crisis was the need to redefine the broad societal understanding of Greenland a country with a universal welfare system. The second experience was that social work comes in many shapes and forms. Finally, the experience illustrated what could take place when the political and administrative system are too slow to react in times of crisis. It kickstarted the civil society step up and help fellow citizens. In the end NGO’s need to reports back and inform the public system to ensure better social emergency response in the future.