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Life Histories of Etnos Theory in Russia and Beyond

Life Histories of Etnos Theory in Russia and Beyond David G. Anderson, Dmitry V. Arzyutov and Sergei S. Alymov (eds)
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-78374-544-9 £24.95
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The idea of etnos came into being over a hundred years ago as a way of understanding the collective identities of people with a common language and shared traditions. In the twentieth century, the concept came to be associated with Soviet state-building, and it fell sharply out of favour. Yet outside the academy, etnos-style arguments not only persist, but are a vibrant part of regional anthropological traditions.

Life Histories of Etnos Theory in Russia and Beyond makes a powerful argument for reconsidering the importance of etnos in our understanding of ethnicity and national identity across Eurasia. The collection brings to life a rich archive of previously unpublished letters, fieldnotes, and photographic collections of the theory’s early proponents. Using contemporary fieldwork and case studies, the volume shows how the ideas of these ethnographers continue to impact and shape identities in various regional theatres from Ukraine to the Russian North to the Manchurian steppes of what is now China. Through writing a life history of these collectivist concepts, the contributors to this volume unveil a world where the assumptions of liberal individualism do not hold. In doing so, they demonstrate how notions of belonging are not fleeting but persistent, multi-generational, and bio-social.

This collection is essential reading for anyone interested in Russian and Chinese area studies. It will also appeal to historians and students of anthropology and ethnography more generally.

Life Histories of Etnos Theory in Russia and Beyond
Edited by David G. Anderson, Dmitry V. Arzyutov and Sergei S. Alymov | February 2019
448 pp. | 97 colour illustrations | 6.14" x 9.21" (234 x 156 mm)
ISBN Paperback: 9781783745449
ISBN Hardback: 9781783745456
ISBN Digital (PDF): 9781783745463
ISBN Digital ebook (epub): 9781783745470
ISBN Digital ebook (mobi): 9781783745487
ISBN Digital (XML): 9781783746859
DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0150
Subject codes: BIC: J (Society and social sciences), JH (Sociology and anthropology), JHMC (Social and cultural anthropology, ethnography), JFC (Cultural studies), 1DVUA (Russia), 1FPC (China); BISAC: SOC000000 (SOCIAL SCIENCE / General), SOC002000 (SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General), SOC002010 (SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural & Social); OCLC Number: 1091708551.

You may also be interested in:


1. Grounding Etnos Theory: An Introduction
David G. Anderson, Sergei S. Alymov and Dmitry V. Arzyutov

2. Etnos Thinking in the Long Twentieth Century
Sergei S. Alymov, David G. Anderson and Dmitry V. Arzyutov

3. Ukrainian Roots of the Theory of Etnos
Sergei S. Alymov

4. Mapping Etnos: The Geographic Imagination of Fёdor Volkov and his Students
Sergei S. Alymov and Svetlana V. Podrezova

5. Notes from His "Snail’s Shell”: Shirokogoroff’s Fieldwork and the Groundwork for Etnos Thinking
David G. Anderson

6. Order out of Chaos: Anthropology and Politics of Sergei M. Shirokogoroff
Dmitry V. Arzyutov

7. Chasing Shadows: Sharing Photographs from Former Northwest Manchuria
Jocelyne Dudding

8. "The Sea is Our Field”: Pomor Identity in Russian Ethnography
Masha Shaw and Natalie Wahnsiedler

9. Epilogue: Why Etnos (Still) Matters
Nathaniel Knight

List of Illustrations
David G. Anderson holds the Chair in the Anthropology of the North at the University of Aberdeen. He is the author of Identity and Ecology in Arctic Siberia (2000) and editor of several volumes in northern anthropology, the most of recent of which was About the Hearth (2009). He recently completed a large international project funded by an ERC Advanced Grant called Arctic Domus (2012–2018). His most recent research in the history of anthropology includes an overview of the human-animal relationships in the circumpolar north for Annual Reviews of Anthropology (2017) and an article co-authored with Dmitry V. Arzyutov on Sergei Shirokogoroff in Current Anthropology (forthcoming 2019).

Sergei S. Alymov is a Researcher at the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Aberdeen. He is an author of the monograph P. I. Kushner i razvitie sovetskoĭ ėtnografii v 1920–1950-e gody (2006) and a number of articles on the history of social sciences and humanities in Russia and the Soviet Union. His recent publications include ‘"This is Profitable for All”: Agrarian Economists and the Soviet Plan-Market Debate in the Post-Stalinist Period’ in Jahrbucher fur Geschichter Osteuropas (2017), and ‘Activating the "Human Factor”: Do the Roots of Neo-Liberal Subjectivity Lie in the "Stagnation”?’ in Forum for Anthropology and Culture (2018).

Dmitry V. Arzyutov is a doctoral student at KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Stockholm) and Honorary Research Fellow at the Department of Anthropology, University of Aberdeen. He holds a doctorate in anthropology (Kunstkamera, St Petersburg) and is working on his second doctorate in the History of Science and Environment. He has published extensively in Russian, English, and French on indigenous religions in South Siberia, environmental anthropology and history of the Russian Arctic, the history of Russian/Soviet anthropology in a transnational context, and visual anthropology. He is also the author of the documentary film Samoyedic Diary (2016), which is based on early Soviet visual archival documents from the north. His most recent publications include the special issue entitled ‘Beyond the Anthropological Texts: History and Theory of Field Working in the Nort’ in Sibirica (2017), and the edited volume Nenet͡skoe olenevodstvo: geografii͡a, ėtnografii͡a, lingvistika (2018).