Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology

Volume 26, Issue 1, 2022

Alexander Castleton
Pages 57-83

Postphenomenology or Essentialism?
An Exploration of Inuit Commercialization of Country Foods through Facebook

Inuit customs establish that food must be shared with the community. For many Inuit, income from wage-work feeds back into the subsistence economy, as money is needed to buy snowmobiles, gas, or rifles to practice harvesting activities. In the last decade, both scholars and journalists have noted that the commercialization of traditional foods (also known as country foods) through Facebook is a current controversy among Inuit. This article will discuss this issue contrasting technological essentialism and postphenomenology. While technological essentialism establishes, from a Heideggerian perspective, that technology transforms reality into pure resource, postphenomenology focuses on describing how technology helps to shape the relations between humans and the world. This article will propose that the commercialization of country foods reflects Facebook’s multistability—that is, the fact that any given technology can present the world in multiple ways.