VESTNIK ARHEOLOGII ANTROPOLOGII I ETNOGRAFII ¹ 3 (54) (2021)
The Khanty of the Yugan River in the Demyanka River basin: formation of local identity
The study is focused on the deep taiga territory located in the upper and middle reaches of the Demyanka River — Uvatsky district of Tyumen Oblast (Western Siberia, Russia). A particular case of the development of local identity in a small community of taiga inhabitants — the Khanty reindeer herders from the Bolshoi Yugan River, who migrated in the first half of the 20th century to the basin of the neighbouring Demyanka River — is presented. This study aims to examine in detail the mechanism of formation of local identity and to trace how a new territorial identity determines development of specific ethnic local community. The paper is largely based on field ethnographic materials collected in 2000–2020, as well as information from archival documents. The study builds upon a system analysis where the formation of a new local community is viewed through the prism of its changing external contacts and socio-cultural boundaries. There were identified the broken links with the historical homeland and new bonds that rooted the people into the new territory. The corresponding role of administrative transformations, socio-economic relations, marriage contacts, and religious beliefs has been established. The main markers of the local identity formed by the 1990s are territorial rooting, a sense of belonging to the region, a new legal status and consolidation of the considered Khanty community. Presently, the descendants of the Bolshoy Yugan Khantys living in the Demyanka River basin are undoubtedly a separate group within the Eastern Khantys with established local identity. Their territorial belonging includes, at the regional level, self-identification as inhabitants of the Uvatsky District, and at the local level, an upheld notion of the Demyanka Region as their homeland. The long isolated existence of the new Khanty community has already led to the emergence of some cultural characteristics that noticeably distinguish these Khanty people from their kin who live in the Bolshoi Yugan River basin.
Keywords: Siberian ethnography, indigenous people of the North, reindeer husbandry, migration, local ethnic communities, social contacts and isolation.
Economic and cultural types of the Turkic peoples of Siberia in scientific works of the mid-19th — first decades of the 21st century
The history of the Russian scientific research on the types of traditional culture of peoples using the scientific concept of economic-cultural types developed in the 1940s–1950s is analysed. The main attention is given to the scientific works on the economic-cultural types of the Turkic peoples of Western and Southern Siberia — the Tuvans, the Chulyms, groups of the Siberian Tatars — Tomsk, Baraba, and Tobol-Irtysh,— mainly focused on the period of 18th — beginning of the 20th century. The aim of this paper is to clarify the level of knowledge of the types of traditional culture of these peoples and to determine future directions of research on the topic. The periods of the study of the economic-cultural types have been identified. These are the 1950s–1970s, when a body of work on the typology of traditional culture was carried out and B.V. Andrianov and N.N. Cheboksarov developed their classification and published a worldwide map of economic-cultural types in 1972. Further on it is the period of the 1980s–1990s when the works in this direction were reducing and almost completely stopped in the first decades of the 21st century. However, it is at this time that the theory of integrated economic-cultural types has been formulated and tested during their study in different groups of the Siberian Tatars living predominantly in the transitional forest-steppe zone and combining components of the culture of populations with appropriative and productive types of economic activities. A task has been set to study economic complexes of the Tobol-Irtysh Tatars in the 17th–18th centuries aiming at the further use of obtained results in the development of an ethnographic classification of the types of traditional culture of the Turkic peoples of Western Siberia.
Keywords: Turkic peoples of Siberia, types of traditional everyday culture, household complexes, history of ethnographic studies of culture, method of formal typology, integrated economic and cultural types.
The veneration of “land-water” in the tradition of the northern Khakas — Kyzyls (late 19th — mid-20th century)
The paper discusses current scientific issues related to the study of the traditional worldview and ritualism of the Khakas people. The work is focused on the analysis of the traditional festival of veneration of “land-water” by the Kyzyls — an ethnic group of the Khakas living in the northern part of Khakassia and in the south of Krasnoyarsk Krai. The characteristic of the ritual complex associated with the worship of the host-spirits is presented: the land spirits (mountains) — tag taig, and the water spirits (springs, lakes, rivers) — sug taiyg. The main sources of the research are unpublished field ethnographic materials. Archival ethnographic information related to this topic, collected in the 1970s by M.S. Usmanova and other researchers from the Tomsk State University, are introduced in the scientific discourse. In the process of studying the indicated problem, it was found that in the culture of the Khakas, including the Kyzyl people, an important place was given to the worship of their native land — sher-sug taiyg. In the religious-mythological consciousness, its specific personification was the spirit-masters of the mountains — tag eezi, and the water spirits — sug eezi. This worldview was due to the natural landscape of the territory in which they live. It features a mountainous terrain with a range of diverse water bodies — the streams, rivers, lakes, etc. The daily domestic life and economic activities of the ethnic community in question were directly related to them. It is argued that in the worldview of the people, connection between the human and nature goes beyond the framework of rational interaction. They were convinced of the close mystical interrelation of natural objects with the life and well-being of people. One of the common ways to maintain a steady balanced relationship between them was the rituals of sacrifice and celebration of these supernatural beings. It was found that in the cult practice of the Kyzyls, the sher-sug taiyg included two or even three specialized rites — tag / kol / sug taiyg, which were closely interconnected with each other and formed a single ritual complex. This sacralized event was held on a regular basis. It had a collective nature with a strictly defined structure, incorporating the leader and other immediate participants, as well as the victim themselves.
Keywords: traditional worldview of the khakas, kyzyls, rite, sacrifice, earth, mountain, water, sher-sug taiyg, shaman, image, symbol.
Transformation of traditional reindeer herding technologies and pasturing practices on the Kola Peninsula in the 20th— early 21st century
The purpose of the article is to give an accent presentation of the transformation of technologies and techniques of reindeer grazing and value attitudes of the Kola reindeer herders in the 20th — early 21st century from an ethno-cultural perspective. The paper is based on the materials of the 2018 expedition to the Kola Peninsula. On the basis of using a system-analytical approach, the paper is structured as a narrative discourse, where the “floor” is given to the Kola reindeer herders themselves. As the studies show, the changes in the Kola reindeer husbandry brought about by the merger of the nomadic Samoyed-Izhem Culture, introduced to the Kola peninsula in the late 19th — early 20th century, with the semi-nomadic “cabin” Saami herding style, as well as by the Soviet period collective and state farm transformation of the traditional reindeer husbandry and the unfolding “snowmobile revolution” (the use of the reindeer sled has been reduced to one month in a year), have led not only to the loss of numerous traditional reindeer herding technologies, pasturing practices and herd control, but also to significant changes in the population composition, structure, and organization of the behavioral characteristics of the herds. Today, the Komi-Izhem reindeer husbandry is dominant in the Kola region. However, despite the major changes, the Kola herders are still quite flexible in using, depending on the circumstances, the advantages of both the Izhem and the Lapp reindeer husbandry systems. The return to the semi-free herds ranging practices and transition to rotational organization of reindeer herd tending in the post-Soviet period stimulated the economic revival of the herding industry and added more comfort to the reindeer herders' lifestyle, although the reindeer herding is not considered a prestigious occupation among young people. Rethinking the older generation's life experiences, together with the more critical perception of today's realities, is an indication of changes within the system of ethnic values, which formerly, in a sense, supported both the individual and collective identities of the Saami and Komi-Izhem ethnies. The transformation processes have had a particularly profound impact on the traditional Saami reindeer culture, almost destroying it, which causes painful memories and reactions of its last bearers. Displacement of the Lapp component is carried forward in the choice of preferred deer breeds and disappearance of the Saami language and Saami toponymy from the reindeer herding context.
Keywords: reindeer herding, Saami (Lapps), Komi-Izhem, Kola Peninsula, technologies, traditions, novations, the late 19th — early 20thcentury.
Romanova E.N., Stepanova L.B.
Anthropology of disease. In the wake of the Arctic Circle epidemics: field materials of I.S. Gurvich
The unique body of materials collected by the Soviet ethnographer and the North scholar I.S. Gurvich (1919–1992) in places of compact residence of the indigenous peoples of Yakutia (the Yukagir expedition of 1959) for the first time determined scientific interest in the problem of medical anthropology, which reflected original ideas about diseases and health as a vital unity (body and soul), as well as symbolic “charging” of medical practices. The purpose of this research is an attempt to understand the spiritual experience of the peoples of Yakutia in the context of social, epidemiological, and climatic disasters. An interpretation of the visual image of epidemics in the traditional worldview of the indigenous peoples of Yakutia is given. The main object of this research, which reconciles the past and present, is the traditional world of long-lasting “perception” and “experience” of mass epidemics by indigenous people of the North. The methodological innovation of the paper is the study of colonial diseases in the framework of social and cognitive anthropology. With the example of local ideas about diseases and treatment in different ethnic communities of North Asia (the Yakuts, Evens, and Yukagirs), we analyze a complex socio-cultural phenomenon that emerged in the 17th century from the historical contacts between local and foreign origin cultures. The cultural dimension of the epidemic diseases within the borders of the Arctic circle, based on the historical and ethnographic sources of the Northern expeditions of the Soviet ethnologist I.S. Gurvich, is the first attempt of the cognitive analysis, the image of the disease and symbolic strategies for its prevention. A broad semiotic analysis of the concept of disease in the indigenous peoples of the Arctic at the level of linguistic, historical, mythological, folklore and ritual texts allowed us to identify the original layer of demonological representations associated with mass epidemics and symbolic strategies for their prevention. Cultural codes of the demonic character-disease (space, color, object, action, ritual) are identified. Sacred practices of influencing the disease were expressed in the following ways: foresight; conciliation; gifting/redemption; deception techniques; and deliverance. Diseases are personified and encoded using certain characters. Obviously, the semiotic system serving the image of disease in the framework of the local ethno-cultural traditions reflected the local specifics.
Keywords: history of epidemics, medical anthropology, indigenous ethnic groups of the North-East of Russia, the population of the past, the anthropology of the disease, health-saving folk practices, the character and image of the disease, the language picture and the ritual context.
Yakovleva K.M., Yakovlev A.I.
The childbirth rituals of the Yakuts: traditions and modernity
The purpose of this paper is to consider the transformation of the maternity rites among the Yakuts from the end of the 19th to the beginning of the 21st centuries. The area under research is the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Eastern Siberia. The main source base was represented by the authors' field materials collected in 2016-2018 in the Verkhnevilyuysky, Churapchinsky, Ust-Aldansky, and Megino-Kangalassky districts. The field studies were conducted using modern and traditional methods of qualitative sociology. The key methods of collecting field materials included modern historical-anthropological methods of inclusive observation, and expert and in-depth interviewing of local residents. The stages of the ritual behavior practiced in preparation for conception, pregnancy, during childbirth, and during the postpartum period, as well as aimed at survival of the newborn, have been identified and clarified. The study of the transformation of the maternity rites shows that in the modern culture of the Yakuts there are only few prohibitions related to the life of the child in the first days after birth, whereas other rituals have faded away due to the development of medicine and the loss of fear, among both women and society as a whole, of infertility or death of the woman in labor or the baby in the process of birth itself.
Keywords: transformation of traditional culture, life cycle ceremonies, maternity ceremonies, ritual, tradition, modernity, Yakuts, Yakutia.
Extraction of remains of the mammoth fauna and local communities of the Arctic territories of Yakutia at the end of the 20th century
Studying the consequences of exploitation of indigenous territories is an urgent topic of modern science. This study presents the result of the research on the history of the development of a special type of resources — mammoth tusks in northern Yakutia. The paper is aimed at the analysis of impact of the new sector of the eco-nomy in the region on the local communities. It was also important to identify the sequence of the events that facilitated this development. The methodological basis of the study is represented by the historical method of analyzing archival data, periodicals, and legal and scientific literature on this subject. Sources for the paper included materials from the National Archive of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), regional periodicals, as well as legal and reference materials covering this crucial stage in the development of the local indigenous communities. Despite the fact that extraction of fossil mammoth bone has been carried out for a long time, its active development began only at the end of the 20th century. The formation and progress of such a new type of mining activity has left a special impression on the development of the local population engaged in the traditional farming. Opportunities and the weak state control in this area have created favorable conditions for the emergence of a special environment for economic relations. This has had a significant impact on social well-being of the local indigenous peoples. During this period, a special situation developed when, due to objective reasons, mammoth tusks turned from an object of natural origin that did not cause any interest into a valuable, highly sought resource. The gro-wing global demand for mammoth remains and the removal of barriers for external contacts in the Soviet Union stimulated the rapid development of the fundamentally different structure of socio-economic relations in the Arctic zone. As a result, this situation greatly influenced the state of the local indigenous communities. The areas of their traditional living became a territory of intensive development of “new resources”, which brought about real environmental and social threats, but also new opportunities. The new prospects, as well as the state unreadiness to regulate the emerging market of “wild” mammoth bone, created all conditions for the emergence of a special area of economic relations spanning the Arctic regions of Yakutia. This almost neglected factor undoubtedly had significant impact on the social well-being of the indigenous peoples living in the region at the end of the 20th century.
Keywords: indigenous peoples, Yakutia, fossil mammoth bone, industrial development, late 20th century, Arctic zone, environment, subsoil use.
Korandei F.S., Abramov I.V., Kostomarov V.M., Cherepanov M.S., Sheludkov A.V.
Provocative landscapes: a study of everyday cultural landscapes at the outskirts of agglomerations
The paper describes research principles and preliminary results of collaborative interdisciplinary research project aimed at the study of everyday cultural landscapes on the periphery of the Yekaterinburg and Tyumen urban agglomerations. The research design of the project implies a paradigm shift from expert reading of the landscapes to communicative learning of the environment, from the perception of the territories in question as resource reservoirs to their exploration as a domain of affordances providing opportunities for endogenous economic development. In 2020, an expedition worked in the villages of Tobolsk Zabolotye, in the cities of Irbit and Polevskoy of Sverdlovsk Oblast, and in the village of Belozerskoye of Kurgan Oblast. The cases and places deemed perspective in view of the application of the research method were characterized. This paper mainly provides an overview of the methodological principles that underpin our ongoing study, which should be considered only as an outline of the preliminary results of the first year of field work. The main source of the theoretical inspiration for the project design was the idea of affordances, coined by the American psychologist James J. Gibson, who studied the problems of perception. The main methodological objective of the project is to apply the theory of affordances to the field study of strategies for everyday landscape choice. In the 2020 field season, the design of the project, envisaging comparative perspective and increased mobility of researchers, was significantly influenced by the method of traveling interview. While working in Tobolsk Zabolotye, we followed everyday patterns of mobility, conducting interviews along the way, discussing with the respondents the hierarchy of places and territories, criteria for identifying vernacular regions, capacity of communication channels, modes of the mobility and its limitations. Concurrently, we were gaining the experience of non-discursive, embodied in materiality and corporeality, movement and recording local narratives of identity.
Keywords: edges of metropolitan areas, cultural landscape, ordinary landscape, everyday landscape, reading of landscape, affordances, processual landscape, sentient ecology, walking, resource paradigm, social anthropology, historical geography.