Manifestations of socio-cultural change in the Ob Ugrians culture at the turn of the 19th–20th centuries

Ershov M.F. (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russian Federation)



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The problem of adaptation of societies to global changes is known to be one of the most challenging for research in humanities. Processes involved with the breakdown of traditional society and transition to market relations are affecting all ethnic groups, with those in the periphery suffering the most. The purpose of the article is to analyse the form of socio-cultural change in the Ob Ugrian culture that occurred during the last period of Imperial Russia. The work is based on materials collected in the Yugra region, historical psychology methods and intercultural communication theories. It is shown that the inhabitants of the Northern part of the Tobolsk Governorate chose different scenarios when the previous stability had been undermined. Initially, the associated mental discomfort urged some representatives of the indigenous population to demonstrate antisocial behaviour. However, at later adaptation stages, the people’s self-esteem and desire to defend own interests and rights was gradually restored. The behaviour of the indigenous population was realized through a spontaneous generation of protective adaptive mechanisms under the continuously growing external influence. These mechanisms were manifested in the denial or, conversely, in the uncritical perception of alien values, in the partial assimilation of economic skills and the attributes of a new life, in the assimilation of literacy and language, in mixed marriages, in the development of rental relations, in the transition to entrepreneurship, in the property differentiation. The described contradictory processes of socio-cultural change and acculturation (separation, marginalization, assimilation, integration) were spreading across the entire Yugra region: from the South-West to the North-East, from towns to taiga wilderness. They affected both sovereign men and dependent women, short-term contacts and permanent interethnic interaction. By the turn of the 19th–20th centuries, the dominant acculturation version of the Ob Ugrians had been their integration with Russian culture. However, the final assimilation has not been achieved so far, as well as a complete emancipation of the indigenous societies from Russian merchants, native entrepreneurs and other intermediaries with the outside world.


Key words: adaptation, acculturation, assimilation, changes, integration, marginalization, Ob Ugrians, entrepreneurship, market, separation.


DOI: 10.20874/2071-0437-2018-42-3-151-157




M.F. Ershov

Ob-Ugric Institute of Applied Researches and Development, Mira st., 14A, Khanty-Mansiysk, 628011, Russian Federation