Adaptation to urban life by native Canadian women
AuthorMeadows, Mary Lea
LccE 98 W8 M42 1981 Fiche
LcshIndians of North America - Women
Indians of North America - Social life and customs
Indians of North America - Urban residence
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AbstractThis study examines the conflicts, strains and coping strategies of 30 native women performing the roles of wife, mother, friend, and relative within an urban environment. At both the substantive and theoretical levels there appear to be deficiencies in the consideration of these issues in the literature. Role theory does, however, provide a suitable theoretical framework within which to examine the roles of interest, and a brief history of the relevant tribes is presented to provide background for the presentation of the situations of the women interviewed. Snowball sampling was implemented to gather the interviews. Five sources were used and the 30 interviews were conducted over a period of 13 months. In-depth personal interviewing was deemed to be the most appropriate technique for several reasons: the data of interest (generally known rules and positions), the topic area was not previously well researched, the ability to probe unanticipated findings as they arose, and to explain problematic areas to the respondents, whose command of English or understanding of research methods could be limited. The mother role proved to be a most important and meaningful role for the women interviewed. As Cruickshank (1975) suggests, children are highly valued by native Canadians. As a result, role strain and overload represent the most common difficulties. The methods used to cope with such difficulties are influenced by the extent to which children are perceived to be affected. Role elimination, barriers against intrusion, and a hierarchy of values and attending obligations are frequently used coping strategies. However, role strain, as experienced by the mother, is not always alleviated. In contrast to mothering, the wife role as a separate performance receives less importance and emphasis. Role elimination is the most common solution. The friend and relative roles are a cherished source of support and identity for the respondents. However, the performance of these roles can involve cases of intrarole conflict. To deal with this problem the respondents use a variety of coping tactics: a hierarchy of values and obligations, explanation to the relevant role partner, barriers against intrusion, or role elimination. In some cases, the problem is simply tolerated. Two overall factors have arisen as determinants of the proper coping strategy: the extent to which children are believed to be affected, and the relative responsibility of role partners. On the basis of the discovery of these elements, several hypotheses are suggested for testing in subsequent research. The present study offers several possibilities for further examination. As well, suggestions are made for potential services involving native women that could assist them in their attempts to cope with urban life. The women interviewed would appear to deal with the city well; they are stable, self-supporting residents. However, they continue to experience role strain in the roles examined and tend to perceive their problems as personal, not public, concerns.
Bibliography: p. 144-148.
CitationMeadows, M. L. (1981). Adaptation to urban life by native Canadian women (Unpublished master's thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB. doi:10.11575/PRISM/22128
InstitutionUniversity of Calgary
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