Two perspectives on the etiology of pibloktoq

Thumbnail Image
Issue Date
Lister, Janet

Lister, Janet. (1989).Two perspectives on the etiology of pibloktoq. -- Lambda Alpha Journal of Man, v.20, p.111-129.


Mental illness may be viewed as a disorder common to the human condition and has long been the sUbject of investigation by various disciplines. Anthropology brings a cross-cultural perspective to this inquiry. Two divergent approaches to the etiology of mental illness are evident in the literature on mental disorders in other cultures. This paper presents an overview of both etiological perspectives with Arctic Hysteria as the focus. Various areas of the circumpolar region and particular populations inhabiting the areas have been specified in the literature as displaying hysterical-like mental disorders known as the Arctic Hysterias. This paper generalizes the subject matter to the "traditional" Eskimos (before culture contact change) who inhabit the polar regions and who exhibit these behaviors. The native term, "pibloktoq," is used used to denote this condition.

Table of Content