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Migration Destination Choice as a Criterion of Self-Identification

The Case of Young People Leaving Norilsk and Dudinka

Nadezhda Zamyatina

Keywords: Arctic experience; family history; local myth; youth migration

The article is based on a questionnaire distributed among the pupils of eight high schools in the city of Noril’sk, the city possessing the most extreme environmental conditions among the large Russian Arctic cities. Here I claim that the choice of migration direction is based on individual experience and social status. The local geographic myths and institutional environment are also relevant in making these choices. The method of using the geographic preferences and choices as a key to understanding the sociocultural phenomena of the city of Noril’sk provides significant insights. Since the tendency to express the intent to migrate is very strong among Arctic cities’ residents, I propose using such intentions as a new method for studying social processes in the Arctic. The direction of migration plans can also be used as a marker of a person’s social position in the North.

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