Toward an Integrated Theory of Social Norms


John P. Ziker

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Contribution to Books

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The main question I am interested in exploring is how social norms are related to indigenous Siberians' narratives about the environment, their strong sense of fairness in distributing food, and other elements of their social life. During the research I conducted within the project Home, Hearth, and Household in the Circumpolar North, I saw a great deal of indigenous knowledge about proper behavior surrounded our three focal metaphors. I realized that there must be a way to conceptualize traditional knowledge (narratives) without objectifying it in a way that some physical scientists do when working on the topic of climate change in the Arctic. Traditional knowledge in this view is less a record of climate or a blueprint for sustainable harvesting of a species, than a way that people promote the social strategies that have been successful for their ancestors.

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