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Arctic Circumpolar Civilization

Philosophical Approaches to the Concept

Sviatoslav Shachin

This article analyzes the concept of an Arctic circumpolar civilization and focuses on contradictions inherent within the concept. Some of these antinomies are the nomadic character of the traditional Arctic civilization and the traditional academic approach that takes a sedentarist perspective; the rich worldview of the Arctic residents and its inadequate reflection in the rational paradigm of cognition; and issues surrounding sustainable development and the global crisis of humanity, which leads to instability worldwide, including in the Arctic. The article proposes method of dialectical synthesis for resolving such antinomies.

TRANSLATED BY TATIANA ARGOUNOVA-LOW

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Indigenous Urbanization in Russia's Arctic

The Case of Nenets Autonomous Region

Marya Rozanova

This article presents the social, economic, and political factors that contribute to the ongoing urbanization of the Nenets indigenous communities (“communities-in-transition”) in the Nenets Autonomous Region. Focusing on the preconditions for “indigenous flight” from traditional rural settlements to urban areas, the article analyzes key indicators—demographics, language proficiency, education level, and occupational sector, as well as social cohesion, interethnic relations, and political inclusion in the larger urban context—to describe the adaptation and integration processes of these new city dwellers. Based on the fieldwork in the region, the article also presents individual life strategies and career choices of indigenous youth and describes the role of gender in indigenous urbanization.

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Dreams of Prosperity – Enactments of Growth

The Rise and Fall of Farming in Varanger

Marianne Elisabeth Lien

were seen as inefficient in relation to welfare and prosperity. As I have travelled through this Arctic landscape in winter, when winds can pull you over and halt any attempts to move outside, I have often wondered how it could occur to Paus that

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Mobility and Infrastructure in the Russian Arctic

Das Sein bestimmt das Bewusstsein?

Nikolai Vakhtin

This special issue of Sibirica arose from a 2015 panel that was part of the annual conference at the European University at St. Petersburg (EUSP). The panel—Mobility and Infrastructure in the Russian Arctic: Das Sein bestimmt das Bewusstsein? 1

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Frida Hastrup and Marianne Elisabeth Lien

we probe in this thematic section. The Nordic Arctic region is a site of significant resource extraction and production, but resource practices in the region pose particular questions: how do national commitments to notions of commons, egalitarianism

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Alla Bolotova, Anastasia Karaseva, and Valeria Vasilyeva

“There are no roads in the North” is a common stereotype about the Russian Arctic. 1 Social scientists working there often become annoyed by this postulate, not only because it presumes an essential immobility of the local population that is far

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Tatiana Vagramenko

Wanner 2008 ; Wanner 2007 ; Zigon 2011 ). Siberia and the Russian Arctic became one of the most striking spots of postsocialist changes on the Russian religious map, and they were associated with an increasing presence of various Protestant

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Protecting Indigenous Rights from Mining Companies

The Case of Ethnological Expertise in Yakutia

Violetta Gassiy

The Arctic is one of Russia’s treasures. However, Arctic economic development means that business is invading lands that are sacred to indigenous peoples. As a rule, regional authorities are interested in tax revenues from subsoil users, prompting them to decide the culture-or-mining dilemma in favor of the latter. But this does not mean that the price of this encroachment on indigenous lands remains uncalculated. Since its establishment in 2010, Yakutia’s Ethnological Expertise Committee has developed a tool for assessing the damage caused to indigenous communities by subsoil users. The problem of getting businesses to compensate indigenous communities has yet to be solved. This article seeks answers to the problem of fair compensation methods and explores modes of partnership and cooperation on traditional lands.

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Marlene Laruelle

Russia is unique on the circumpolar landscape in that indigenous communities constitute only a small percentage of its Arctic population. Whereas they represent 80 percent of Greenland’s population, 50 percent of Canada’s, 20 percent of Alaska’s, and 15 percent of Norway’s Arctic regions, they make up less than 5 percent of the population of Arctic Russia. Although indigenous peoples have a more solid demography than Russians and have therefore seen their share of the Arctic population slowly increase over the past two decades, their rights remain fragile. Moscow does not consider the Arctic to have a specific status due to the presence of indigenous peoples, and its reading of the region is still very much shaped by the imperial past, the memory of an easy conquest (osvoenie) of territories deemed “unpopulated,” and the exploitation of the region’s subsoil resources.

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Silvia M. Bell

Circularity, a salient theme in the film Lovers of the Arctic Circle (1999), is explored as a symbol that points to a consideration of issues central to psychic life. The movie sets up an expectation—two lives will be brought together to recreate a former blissful union, and complete a circle that defies finality, separation, and loss. It succeeds in creating a dialectic between two tensions, the experience of separateness where each person is a circle unto oneself, and the longing to be encircled with an "other" in a union that promises safety and permanence. The wish for fusion versus merger with the loved one is discussed in the context of traumatic loss and soul blindness. These early experiences interfere with healthy mourning and determine the reliance on magic and regressive compromise that contributes to a tragic outcome.