Rud, Søren. ‘Diagnosing Vulnerability’. Colonialism in Greenland: Tradition, Governance and Legacy, Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2017, 73–94.
Throughout the colonial period—particularly in the 19th century–various mental disturbances were identified among Greenlanders. Both the popular view—and that of medical practitioners’—was that these mental disturbances were closely tied to (what was perceived to be) their cultural “capacities”. Their findings may be used as a lens to view the political, economic and epistemological premises of the colonial project. The process of how the medical profession embarked upon the diagnosis reveals much about the colonial process and the physical and emotional challenges faced by Greenlanders. There was indeed an intimate connection between medicine and colonial rule and this chapter presents an analysis of how diagnoses specific to Inuit can be used as a lens to supplement the picture of the colonial project’s political, economic and epistemological premises in Greenland.