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How Monotony Transforms into Dichotomy

East-West Division in the Post-Soviet North Caucasus

Sufian Zhemukhov

A nuanced reading of the current situation in the North Caucasus reveals two main trends that articulate in confrontation with Russian nationalism. First, in the eastern part of the region, particularly in Dagestan, Chechnya, and Ingushetia, a shift from nationalism to Islam has taken place, and the ties between religion and political machine are strong and visible. Second, and by contrast, in the western part of the region, including Adygea, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachayevo-Cherkessia, and North Ossetia, nationalism has increased, and the political elites seldom practice religion publicly.

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Silence in the Woods

Finno-Ugric Peoples of the Russian North and Western Siberia in the Ethnographic Literature from the Eighteenth to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century

Art Leete

This article explores the ethnographic, philosophical, and political background of the image of the northern peoples as “silent,” by analyzing the diachronic perspective descriptions of the Finno-Ugric peoples of the north who inhabit Western Siberia and the Russian North from the eighteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth. Early modern ethnographies treated the Siberian peoples as aggressive, although from the end of the eighteenth century this image was reassessed and a different view of the silent character of the indigenous people was introduced in scholarly literature. Silent conduct was assessed as an archaic quality of the Finno-Ugric temperament, or as the result of the colonial encounter. This manifestation of silence was the most distinctive marker of the modern transformations of power and knowledge in the arena of Siberian studies.

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Vasiliki P. Neofotistos

Using the Republic of North Macedonia as a case study, this article analyzes the processes through which national sports teams’ losing performance acquires a broad social and political significance. I explore claims to sporting victory as a direct product of political forces in countries located at the bottom of the global hierarchy that participate in a wider system of coercive rule, frequently referred to as empire. I also analyze how public celebrations of claimed sporting victories are intertwined with nation-building efforts, especially toward the global legitimization of a particular version of national history and heritage. The North Macedonia case provides a fruitful lens through which we can better understand unfolding sociopolitical developments, whereby imaginings of the global interlock with local interests and needs, in the Balkans and beyond.

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Women and Carnival Space

Gender and Carnival in a North Aegean Island Community

Regina Zervou

This article focuses on gender relations through the performance of carnival rites in a North Aegean island rural community. Based on qualitative research, it approaches the women’s use of public space during carnival and the changes under the influence of women’s emancipation since the 1970s. The percentage of women, especially young girls, participating in carnival rites has risen dramatically over the last decade. However, not all carnival public spaces are equally open to women. The article examines the way women try to impose their presence on the strictly male universe of the carnival space and especially the marketplace, the traditional and timeless core of the carnival rites, where only men can pronounce the obscene carnival language, fruit of the kafeneion male discourse and the reactions of the male community to the novelties brought by feminism into the village.

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Liberating the Land or Absorbing a Community

Managing North African Migration and the Bidonvilles in Paris's Banlieues

Melissa K. Byrnes

In the late-1950s, the Parisian suburbs of Saint-Denis and Asnières-sur-Seine launched major urban renovation projects to eliminate the bidonvilles, shantytowns that often housed North African migrants. While Asnières viewed the bidonville occupants as obstacles to modernization, Saint-Denis billed its efforts as a humanitarian project to provide migrants with better housing and to support migrants' rights and social welfare. Officials in Asnières used their renovation plans to bring new, metropolitan French, families into the reclaimed areas and redistribute the single male workers outside their city. Dionysien officials, however, aimed at inclusion, providing new accommodation within the city for many families and a majority of workers. The renovation efforts in these two cities demonstrate the diversity of French reactions to North African migrants, suggest the existence of alternative notions of local community identity, and highlight the importance of the Algerian War in defining France's migration framework.

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Pomors, Pomor’e, and the Russian North

A Symbolic Space in Cultural and Political Context

Yuri P. Shabaev, Igor Zherebtsov, Kim Hye Jin and Kim Hyun Taek

Although the European North of Russia is a multicultural region, it is often referred to as a single cultural region. For many centuries there have been common names for this region. Of particular importance were Pomor’e and Russian North. The former term is historical, and the latter is related to a cultural project that emerged in the late nineteenth century. In the 1920s both terms ceased to be widely used, appearing only in academic literature. However, in the early 1990s the term Pomor’e regained some of its earlier prominence and acquired both cultural and political meanings. The revival of the term has led to processes of re-identification, because the long forgotten Pomor identity also started to reemerge. However, the regional authorities considered the revival of Pomor identity and the Pomor movement as a striving for separatism, and a fight with and oppression of the Pomor movement followed. One symbolic element of the struggle was an attempt to counterpose the terms Pomor’e and Russian North and to add a political meaning to the latter.

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Replenishing Milk Sons

Changing Kinship Practices among the Sahrāwī, North Africa

Konstantina Isidoros

Since the decolonisation period, the Sahrāwī in the western Sahara Desert, North Africa have experienced very specific sociopolitical transformations relating to their millennia-old specialisation in nomadic pastoralism. This article examines the effects of such transformations on particular forms of making kin out of others – milk kinship. Various political circumstances have obliged the Sahrāwī to restructure their customary principles of organisation, possibly diminishing these practices. I question the effects of the loss of milk kin – particularly of milk sons – and the strains on customary matrilocal relations in the survival pressure on kinship relying solely upon ‘blood’ sons to replace these ‘missing men’.

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Konstantin B. Klokov and Sergey A. Khrushchev

This article surveys the population dynamics of twenty-six indigenous small-numbered peoples of the Russian North, using the data from eight General Censuses of Russia (1897-2002), and the Polar Census of 1926/27. The article demonstrates that each of these peoples responded to central state policies in diverse ways, and that often different populations of the same group showed differing trends in different regions. During the Soviet period there was strong assimilative pressure on the indigenous small-numbered peoples. The opposite tendency is evident in the post-Soviet period—a process referred to in this article as "ethnic re-identification."Because there was little inter-regional migration of the indigenous peoples, we conclude that the population dynamics of each nationality in each region is the result of the interplay among fertility, mortality, assimilation, and ethnic re-identification.

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Introduction

Reflections on the Study of Sexuality in the Middle East and North Africa

Allon J. Uhlmann

After outlining the aims of this thematic section, I introduce the articles that follow. Although they reflect different geographical interests and theoretical orientations, the articles raise some interesting issues, of which I take up two. One is the role of Islam. It appears that both Islam's historical role and its contemporary effect are critical, yet indeterminate and contestable. The other issue is comparative. There is much in common between the way sexuality is configured in Europe, on the one hand, and in the Middle East and North Africa, on the other. But there are also significant differences. I discuss some of these differences in the way sex and sexuality are culturally mobilized to construct genderedness.

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Arctic Earthviews

Cyclic Passing of Knowledge among the Indigenous Communities of the Eurasian North

Tero Mustonen and Ari Lehtinen

This article examines the mechanisms and manners of maintaining the communal knowledge systems of the indigenous peoples of the circumpolar North. This is accomplished by paying attention to the concerns of distinguished community elders who have experienced the entwining of indigenous traditions and modernization during their lives. The article also introduces the concept of earthview, identifying the ethical and spiritual insights that inform the community-specific everyday skills of living in the North. The conclusion highlights the human/nonhuman cycles of intergenerational knowledge renewal that are mostly practical and oral by nature. The emergence of new elders is therefore critically grounded on the personal and communal skills of passing on the intimate knowledge of sensing changes in nature. By emphasizing the role of oral communication we underline that this knowledge (of earthviewing) only remains while being shared in everyday conditions and routines of land and life. We dedicate this article to the memory of Professor Vasilii A. Robbek.