Arctic “Laboratory” of Food Resources in the Allaikhovskii District of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)

in Sibirica
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  • 1 Junior Researcher, The Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera), The Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia nikola.gon4arov@yandex.ru

This article proposes a view of the Allaikhovskii district (Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)) located in the Russian Arctic as a “laboratory” in which various actors (the state, regional authorities, local communities) have been actively working on the production of food security. Based on both field experience and published literature, I describe a multilayered process of foodscape formation in this region. The unique elements that characterize the foodscape of the district are the nonautomated modes of food production caused by territorial isolation, unsatisfactory infrastructure, the high price of food delivery, and environmental changes. All these factors create fragile foodscape; the life of local residents can be characterized as “being with risk,” which inspires certain compensatory measures implemented by different layered actors. The impossibility of creating a consistent and reliable system of subsistence thus reinforces a “laboratory” regime of permanent experiments to maintain food security. The Arctic laboratory is not located in separate place with specialists (as in the case discussed by Bruno Latour) but distributed throughout the actors and their activities connected with their lifestyles in this specific territory.

Sibirica

Interdisciplinary Journal of Siberian Studies

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