Department of Planning

PHD Defence by Naja Carina Steenholdt

Subjective Well-being and Quality of Life in Greenland


05.03.2021 kl. 14.00 - 17.00


This dissertation asks and seeks to answer the question of what it means to have a good life in Greenland. In 2007, the study The Study of Living Conditions in the Arctic (SLiCA) concluded, that on the one hand, there were pronounced social problems and great dissatisfaction with many conditions in Greenland, and on the other hand a majority of Greenlanders were satisfied or very happy with their lives. This paradox has served as a driving force in this dissertation, and thus forms the basis of the problem in the research questions. Why and how one can be satisfied or even very satisfied with one's life in a society which, has a number of poor fundamental living conditions? In addition to a search for greater insight into this paradox, the dissertation also focuses on the essential question of what it means to have a good life. The dissertation's approach stems from a sociological research perspective, which is primarily inspired by hermeneutics; as the dissertation not only strives to describe the social reality, but also seeks to understand it through interpretation. The format of the dissertation is based on five scientific articles, and the primary data material comes from 70 qualitative, semi-structured interviews with Greenlandic men and women in the age group between 18 and 65, divided into 13 cities and settlements in South, East, North and West Greenland. The five articles contribute new aspects to the existing knowledge. The dissertation further concludes that the indicators found for quality of life and well-being are, in broad terms, in line with existing research. Here the importance of two overarching categories is particularly highlighted; close social relationships (family and close friends) and contact with nature.


Professor Emeritus Valerie Møller | Rhodes University, South Africa
Professor Peter Berliner |University of Greenland
Professor Lone Kørnøv (Chair)|Department of Planning, Aalborg University, Denmark


Main supervisor Professor MSO Anne Merrild Hansen | Department of Planning, AAU and Ilisimatusarfik
Co-supervisor Senior Researcher Ulrik Pram Gad | Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS)
Co-supervisor Emeritus Birger Poppel| University of Greenland


Associate Professor Sanne Vammen Larsen | Department of Planning, AAU


Department of Planning


Online via Microsoft Teams

Registration Deadline

03.03.2021 kl. 16.00

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