Integral Approach in Investigating Cultural Landscape and Ethnic Identities (A Case Study of the Tofalars and Evenks of Baikalian Siberia)


M. V. Ragulina
Institute of Geography Siberian Branch Russian Academy of Science

Series: Safety and Risk in Society
BISAC: SOC026000

This author’s version of integral approach combines the constructivist, ethnoecosystem and cultural-anthropological ideas within the framework of the theoretical research scheme for social identity. The cultural landscape is treated as a contextual “embodiment” of the identification processes. The integral approach is used in investigating the factors and processes that are responsible for formation of a spectrum of ethnic identities of Baikalian Siberia. This Russian region lies in Northern Asia and is noted for its natural contrasts and ethnic diversity.

This region has been inhabited and developed from time immemorial by nomadic peoples belonging to the hunting–reindeer cultures – Evenki and Tofalars. Starting in the 17th century, Russian colonization became the factor that “triggered” radical changes in identification of both the native population and of the newcomers. The dramatic events of the 20th century, namely the institution of Soviet power, a forced conversion of the nomadic to the sedentary way of life, and the post-Soviet transformation of the economic and political system of society stimulated a further complication of the identificational gamut of the taiga nomads: the Tofalars and the Evenks.

As a result, islets of “digital society” combine with archaic self-identification in the mythological field of animism, while the pragmatism of natural resources utilization neighbors upon the perception of one’s group as the heir of millennial ecophilic traditions. The Siberian local sociums and ethnic groups generate “interior” processes of identification and assume the “exterior” standards that are prescribed to them, by incorporating or refusing some aspects of social morphology, political events, economic practices, intercultural exchange and spatial-geographical characteristics. (Imprint: Nova)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Introduction: Social Identity and Cultural Landscape

Main categories of integral research

Investigative model: we combine logical levels, quadrants and development stages

Ethnic identities: experience of a regional investigation

Colonization of Baikalian Siberia and its effects

Ethnic identities of the Tofalars and Evenks in the wake of Russian colonization: Bried results

Identities and landscape of Baikalian Siberia in the 20th century




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