Chapter

After Informatic Striation: The Resignification of Disc Numbers in Contemporary Inuit Popular Culture

Gary Genosko and Adam Bryx

in Deleuze and Space

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780748618743
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671762 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748618743.003.0007
After Informatic Striation: The Resignification of Disc Numbers in Contemporary Inuit Popular Culture

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This chapter takes up Deleuze and Guattari's notions of smooth and striated space to provide an analytic account of the ways in which the indigenous or ‘First Nations’ peoples – particularly the Inuit – of the northernmost parts of the North American continent coped with the rigorously stratifying practices of their colonial overlords. In a bid to construct a stable demographic picture of the Inuit, the Canadian government took the extraordinary step of requiring them to wear numbered identity disks, or ‘dog tags’ as they were immediately dubbed by their hapless wearers. This step was deemed necessary because Inuit naming practices are such that a catalogue of names is not only out of date very quickly, but soon slides into meaninglessness. The Inuit do not use surnames, they do not identify with a particular family tree in their naming, nor do they gender names; by the same token, it is common for several people to have the same name in honour of a famous hunter, for example. The chapter narrates a twofold process whereby the government overlaid a stable identity system, and the recipients of that striated system rendered it smooth all over again.

Keywords: Deleuze; Guattari; space; Inuit; identity system

Chapter.  6970 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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