Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Ready E (2018) Sharing-based social capital associated with harvest production and wealth in the Canadian Arctic. PLoS ONE 13(3): e0193759. pone.0193759


© 2018 Elspeth Ready. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.


Social institutions that facilitate sharing and redistribution may help mitigate the impact of resource shocks. In the North American Arctic, traditional food sharing may direct food to those who need it and provide a form of natural insurance against temporal variability in hunting returns within households. Here, network properties that facilitate resource flow (network size, quality, and density) are examined in a country food sharing network comprising 109 Inuit households from a village in Nunavik (Canada), using regressions to investigate the relationships between these network measures and household socioeconomic attributes. The results show that although single women and elders have larger networks, the sharing network is not structured to prioritize sharing towards households with low food availability. Rather, much food sharing appears to be driven by reciprocity between high harvest households, meaning that poor, low-harvest households tend to have less sharing based social capital than more affluent, high-harvest households. This suggests that poor, low-harvest households may be more vulnerable to disruptions in the availability of country food.