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From the ‘invention of tradition’ to the ethnography of the state: the Podkamennaia Tunguska river, 1920s

русская версия

Опубликовано на портале: 06-05-2011

Soviet ethnographic materials are normally explored as a case in the well-rehearsed argument of the ‘invention of tradition’. Indeed, ethnography plays an important role in creation of a view of tradition on which empires, nation states and ethnic movements draw. The goal of this article is to rethink this problematic of anthropology of anthropology in the light of new ethnographies of the state. I explore Siberian indigenous ethnographic materials of the 1920s as a site of the social life of the state, which in those years took a specific form of reform and research expedition. The focus is on both the ethnographic vision of this reform and research perspective as well as in techniques which are deployed in construction this perspective and which is shared between the social organisation of Soviet ethnography and the Soviet state. The article draws on a micro-historical exploration of archives of the Soviet state Committee for the North, that dealt at that time with indigenous policies, and, in particular with its statute on indigenous governance (1926) and indigenous land-tenure reform (1928).

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