This field report summarizes an international interdisciplinary research project in Saidy, Republic of Sakha, in the Russian Far East. The aim of the research was to study ecological adaptations of communities in northern Sakha, combining methods of anthropology, archaeology, and ecology. Most indigenous communities in this region demonstrate a high level of self-organization—for example, forbidding sales of alcohol and transforming drinking to a hidden activity. These communities are actively engaged in the informal economy where officially unemployed people run informal grocery stores, hunting, and transport enterprises. Local practices are a mixture of Evenki and Sakha culture with emphasis on individualism. People in these communities are not nostalgic about Sovietera collective farms—something that is unusual in Siberia—and see current life as better than that in the Soviet era.
The conference, 'Generation P in the Tundra' (8–10 October 2004) was organised by the Estonian Literary Museum in Tartu. The topic of the conference was the young generation in Siberia in all of its facets. The title for the conference was inspired by the cult book Generation P by the Russian writer Victor Pelevin, who describes what he believes is the young, commercialised Pepsi generation in Russia, which has assimilated post-socialist consumerist culture.
Mission, Contracts, and Social Relations in the Developing Post-Socialist Market Economy
This article is about the Sakha music business and the people involved in it. It discusses different strategies of making music and shows that different music genres have their own setting of social relations. Due to the specific economic and social situation, social relations in the music business are often informal. The classic theory of the cultural industry states that producing music is a calculated market economy-oriented activity. This article questions such an approach and shows that social and cultural ideas are present in the music-making process. The Sakha music business cannot be seen as only a profit-oriented sphere. Whereas producers and musicians are interested in formal, contract-based relations in purely economic cases, the informality maintains its importance. Ideas of solidarity and mutual support are linked to the perception of being in one music community, which uses different elements of Sakha culture in their music. As is demonstrated in the article, incorporation of Sakha motives is not only a marketing strategy but also a way for musicians and producers to act as carriers of the Sakha culture whose mission is to develop it.
Arctic Workshop at the University of Tartu, Estonia (30–31 May 2014)
This 2014 workshop was the fifth Arctic workshop held at the University of Tartu and the second dedicated to alcohol. In retrospect, both workshops were fruitful but differed in scope. The main difference between the first workshop in 2013 and second was that the first focused primarily on the social and cultural meaning of alcohol in the Arctic and the second broadened its geography. In the latter, we included papers presenting research results from outside the Arctic region. Comparing two workshops, then, it should be mentioned that, while the first was more in-depth, the second had more comparative focus. Besides various regions of Siberia, the talks in the workshop dealt with Mongolia, Latvia, and Sweden. Unfortunately, several participants had to cancel at the last moment—therefore an exciting study about alcohol use among Ethiopian students and the semantics of Canadian alcoholism were missed.
Sakha ethnic music business, upward mobility and friendship
The Sakha have had their own popular music since the 1970s. During the Soviet era, music culture was controlled by the state. Starting in the 1990s, new pop-music institutions and venues emerged and new entrepreneurs entered the music business as club owners, managers, producers, DJs, etc. In this article, I examine multiple social relations in the music business. Music has become a possibility for village youth to leave their villages and gain fame as artists. The Sakha music world contains various networks where criminal structures, artists, businessmen and media are interlinked. Through this linkage, music is used to gain a community's support for semi-legal business activities. At the same time, both the artists and producers present themselves to the public as the custodians of Sakha 'national' culture. The article discusses ways in which the artists' popularity is connected to their position in the music business, and how ethnic symbols are used to gain success.
Arctic Workshop of the University of Tartu, 28-29 May 2010, Tartu, Estonia
The mini-conference “World Routes: Arctic Workshop of the University of Tartu” took place on 28–29 May 2010 in Tartu, Estonia.
Naomi Caffee, Paul Dukes, and Aimar Ventsel
Mists on the River: Folktales from Siberia Yeremei Aipin, Translated by Marina Aipin and Claude Clayton Smith (Brunswick, ME: Shanti Arts Publishing, 2020), 51 pp. ISBN 978-1-951651-40-4.
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Lifestyle in Siberia and the Russian North Joachim Otto Habeck, ed. (Cambridge, UK: Open Book, 2019), 490 pp. ISBN paperback: 978-1-78374-717-7; ISBN cloth: 978-1-78374-718-4.
Marco Solimene, Mariann Vaczi, Paul Manning, Bozena Sojka, Stephen Quilley, Anna Zhelnina, and Aimar Ventsel
Peter Berta (2019), Materializing Difference: Consumer Culture, Politics, and Ethnicity among Romanian Roma (Toronto: University of Toronto Press), 390 pp., $67.50, ISBN 9781487500573.
Niko Besnier, Susan Brownell and Thomas F. Carter (eds) (2018), The Anthropology of Sport: Bodies, Borders, Biopolitics (Berkeley: University of California Press), 336 pp., $29.95/£25.00, ISBN 9780520289017.
Martin Demant Fredriksen (2018), An Anthropology of Nothing in Particular (Winchester: Zero Books), 118 pp., £10.99, ISBN 9781785356995.
Caroline Hornstein-Tomić, Robert Pichler and Sarah Scholl-Schneider (eds) (2018), Remigration to Post-Socialist Europe: Hopes and Realities of Return (Münster: LIT Verlag), 467 pp., £39.90, ISBN 3643910258.
Peter Mulholland (2019), Love's Betrayal: The Decline of Catholicism and Rise of New Religions in Ireland (Oxford: Peter Lang), 362 pp., £73.62, ISBN 9781787071278.
Michał Murawski (2019), The Palace Complex: A Stalinist Skyscraper, Capitalist Warsaw, and a City Transfixed (Bloomington: Indiana University Press), 338 pp., $40.00, ISBN 9780253039996.
Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov (2017), Two Lenins: A Brief Anthropology of Time (Chicago: Hau Books), 150 pp., $22.05, ISBN 0997367539.
Brian Donahoe, Helen S. Hundley, Peter Jordan, David N. Collins, Aimar Ventsel, Sharyl Corrado, John Sallnow, and Kristina Kuentzel-Witt
Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov, The Social Life of the State in Subarctic Siberia (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003) 280pp. illustrations, £36.50. ISBN 0-80473- 462-3
Martin J. Bollinger, Stalin’s Slave Ships. Kolyma, the Gulag Fleet, and the Role of the West (Westport, Conn.: Praeger Press, 2003) 217pp. maps, photographs, tables. £28.99; US $49.95. ISBN 0-275-98100-2 (hb)
Hiroki Takakura, ed. Indigenous Ecological Practices and Cultural Traditions in Yakutia: history, ethnography, politics (Northeast Asian Study Series 6. Center for Northeast Asian Studies, Tohoku University, 2003) 150pp. maps, tables, illustrations. ISBN 4-901449-12-5 (pb).
Josh Newell, The Russian Far East. A Reference Guide for Conservation and Development (McKinleyville, CA: Daniel and Daniel Publishers, 2004) xx, 466pp. illustrations (some colour), maps, chart, tables index. $99.95. ISBN 1-880284- 76-6 (hb); $59.95. ISBN 1-880284-75-8 (pb)
Alexia Bloch, Red Ties and Residential Schools. Indigenous Siberians in a Post- Soviet State (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003) 264pp. illustrations. £28.00/$39.95 (hb) ISBN 0-8122-3759-5
A. I. Kostanov, ed. Gubernatory Sakhalina (Iuzhno-Sakhalinsk: Arkhivnyi otdel administratsii Sakhalinskoi oblasti, Gosudarstvennyi arkhiv Sakhalinskoi oblasti, 2000). 391pp.
Sue Davis, The Russian Far East: the last frontier? (London: Routledge, 2002) 155pp. £60 (hb) ISBN 0-415-27425-7
Judith Thornton and Charles E. Ziegler, eds, Russia’s Far East: A Region at Risk (Seattle, USA: The National Bureau of Asian Research in association with the University of Washington Press, 2002) 498pp. £25.95 (pb) ISBN 0-295-98235-7
Vadim Petrovich Shakherov, Goroda Vostochnoi Sibiri v XVIII – pervoi polovine XIX vv. Ocherki sotsial ‘no-ekonomicheskoi i kul’turnoi zhizni. (Irkutsk, 2001) 264pp. ISBN 5-93219-034-5