Arctic Work – conference call for papers

ARCTIC WORKSHOP OF THE UNIVERSITY OF TARTU: WORK IN THE ARCTIC

29 AND 30 MAY, 2015

The Department of Ethnology at the University of Tartu in Estonia is pleased to invite proposals for the international academic workshop “Arctic workshop of the University of Tartu: Work in the Arctic” that will take place on 29 and 30 May, 2015.

Life in the Arctic is often depicted as a place where people fight for survival, struggling with the harsh climate, long distances and the limited choice of consumables. Simultaneously, the Arctic is a resource frontier where circumpolar countries develop extraction industries by constructing or maintaining large-scale infrastructure with

Large scale industry city in the Arctic: Nadym

Large scale industry city in the Arctic: Nadym

settlements. A narrative of heroic work under hard conditions is part of the image of life in the Arctic, exploited enthusiastically both by people who live in the region and outside of it. Sometimes the gains of that struggle are measured in high northern wages, sometimes hard work in the Arctic proves the extraordinary toughness of “Northerners”, sometimes modern industry is presented as a symbol of progress.

This workshop will focus on different aspects and interpretations of work in the Arctic. Our goal is to assemble a truly interdisciplinary collection of presentations that will focus upon the cultural and social side of working in the Arctic, contributing to a better understanding of the economic, political or ecological aspects in general. Therefore, we encourage participation not only from anthropologists but also from economists, political scientists, historians, human geographers, biologists and others. The informal nature of the workshop is suited not only for senior scholars discussing their research results but also for PhD students.

Please send your abstracts up to 300 words to Aimar.Ventsel(at)ut.ee by 30th of January 2015

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Кольские саами и антропологи Арктики потеряли большого друга

С большой скорбью сообщаем сегодня о грустной новости. Скончался Лейф Рантала, в течение многих лет являющийся ключевой фигурой саамских исследований в Университете Лапландии. С самого начала существования исследовательской группы антропологов в Рованиеми Лейф был нашим благосклонным сподвижником и незаменимым советчиком, время от времени участвуя с большим интересом в наших дискуссиях. Особенно, когда дело касалось российских саами, он нам много помогал, делясь ценной информацией из своей памяти, подобной громадному архиву, а также предоставляя нам материалы из огромной личной библиотеки.

Leif Rantala

Photo: The Sámi Archives, Leif Rantala’s collection

Помощь Лейфа была неоценимой при составлении первичной заявки в Финскую академию наук на соискание гранта для финансирования проекта ORHELIA. Без его вклада часть описания проекта, посвященная саами, не оказалась бы достаточно богатой. Возможно, Лейф не был настолько широко известен в области антропологии Арктики, однако среди лингвистов, особенно финно-угорского направления, он пользуется огромной славой. Многие из нас также вспомнят его как замечательного переводчика на международных встречах. Лучше него никто не мог переводить любые языковые комбинации между финским, русским, саамским, английским и шведским языками. Мы всегда будем тепло вспоминать Лейфа за упорное продвижение фундаментальных знаний в науке, одновременно уважая его постоянные старания возвращать эти знания тем людям, которых они больше всего касались, – саами. Никогда не заботясь о рейтингах журналов и стандартах, придуманных другими людьми, Лейф преследовал только одну цель: чтобы его работа приносила пользу другим людям. Иногда кому-то это казалось лишним упорством, но эта ясность и дисциплина в самостоятельной научной деятельности достойна большого уважения. Суви Кивела написала  в своем некрологе на фейсбуке, что на самом деле нет ответа на вопрос: «А кто сейчас?». Лейф был уникальным и незаменимым человеком, как исследователь и как личность. Кто бы, на самом деле, подумал, что еще в прошлом году в Оулу он посетил концерт группы «The Scorpions»? Мы искренне надеемся, что все коллеги, работающие с его материалами и в его области исследований, будут бережно хранить переданное им наследие. Покойся с миром, Лейф!

Несколько ссылок: статьи о Лейфе в википедии на английском и на финском языках, со списками его публикаций; статья на русском языке о последнем общественном проекте Лейфа, выставке экспонатов Кольских саами из его личной коллекции; статья о составленном и опубликованном Лейфом списке репрессированных саами; статья Лейфа «Из истории саамского общественно-политического движения в ХХ веке».

Флориан Штаммлер, перевод Лукаса Аллеманна и Катрины Григорьевой

Posted in All, Announcements, Fennoscandia, Indigenous Peoples, Russian North, Sámi | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Kola Sámi research and Arctic Anthropology lost a great friend

We are sad to spread the following news today: Leif Rantala, long time at the University of Lapland the grand old man of Sámi research, has passed away. From the very start of the anthropology team in Rovaniemi, he has been a benevolent, albeit quiet supporter, and joined with great interest some of our discussions. He has also been a great help with background information from his immense library and archive in his head, as well as in his office and home, for much of our work connected to the Sámi in Russia. Our ORHELIA oral history project would not have got a Sámi component in the proposal that was rich enough in background information without Leif’s help. Leif is less known to international Arctic anthropology, but very well in Arctic language studies, end even more so Finno-Ugric linguistics. Many of us will also remember him from his numerous roles as translator at international meetings. Who else could translate in all directions between Finnish-Russian-Sámi-English-Swedish in the way he could? For us in the team Leif will also be in warm memories for his firm orientation in fundamental advancement of knowledge on the one hand, and for making this knowledge always available for the people themselves. He did not care about citation indexes, scopus, web of sciences, credits etc. He wanted to make sure that his work is useful, and was not ready to compromise it according to some criteria made by somebody else. At times this may have seemed stubborn, but it was admirable in its crystal clear agenda and strict rigour. As Suvi Kivela wrote in her facebook obituary, there is no answer to any of the questions “who now?” Leif was unique as a scholar, and as a personality. Who for example would have guessed that he went to see the Scorpions’ last concert in Oulu in 2014? We sincerely hope that all the colleagues working with his materials in the future, and on his field sites, will keep Leif’s legacy alive. Leif, rest in peace!

Here is some more info on Leif from online in wikipedia (English), or the same in Finnish (both with list of works and publications), and from the Sápmi news service in Finland

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Corporate Social Responsibility or Corporate Diplomacy

The abstract below to an event in London brings up the interesting question if we are in an age of extractive industry conversation where CSR is over, and being replaced by what Gilbert calls “corporate diplomacy”, very restricted to few persons, who make the crucial decisions. What do you think about the idea that this diplomacy does not replace the CSR efforts, but – as Gilbert claims – emphasizes its hierarchies?  This reminds me of Arthur Mason’s “fieldwork” at those big oil and gas VIP meetings. You can check out his work here.

But here is the abstract by Gilbert, part of the RAI Research in Progress seminar series especially for post-graduates and early career researchers.

The Royal Anthropological Institute Friday, 16 January 2015 from 16:30 to 18:00 (GMT) London, United Kingdom

The extractive industries and the ‘Age of Conversation’: from corporate social responsibility to corporate diplomacy
Speaker: Paul Robert Gilbert, University of Sussex

Abstract

Around the turn of the century, the extractive industries announced their renaissance. A series of high-profile international initiatives, toolkits and councils placed the most vilified of companies among the vanguard of an emergent corporate social responsibility (CSR) agenda. Anthropologists attuned to the subtleties of The Gift have presented CSR programmes undertaken by extractive industry corporations as exercises in indebtedness engineering, or as anti-social instances of ‘failed exchange’. Drawing on ethnography of London’s market for mining finance, this paper examines a shift in emphasis from CSR to ‘corporate diplomacy,’ taking as a starting point another canonical work on exchange in economic anthropology: The Fame of Gawa.  The interplay of fame, influence and strategic control in the mining market comes to the fore even as the professionalised reputation managers employed by major extractive industry corporations insist that they have “left the citadel” and joined an “Age of Conversation.” The Age of Conversation, they argue, sees their employers absolutely disciplined by a digitally networked panopticon of the subaltern. Yet when corporate diplomats mount a mission, only a select few “influencers” are admitted into any meaningful conversation. The rise of corporate diplomacy does not signal the end of corporate social responsibility as anthropologists have come to understand it. Instead, corporate diplomacy both entrenches and makes more explicit the distinctly hierarchical social imagination that organizes extractive industry approaches to reputation and responsibility.

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Happy new year

The founders and editors of arcticanthropology.org wish all bloggers and readers a happy new 2015!

Warm thanks to all the authors of the blog for their contributions, and for the readers and commenters for their interest!

Northern lights in Rovaniemi, Finland, as a christmas present 24 December 2014

Northern lights in Rovaniemi, Finland, as a christmas present 24 December 2014

Looking forward to more interesting information being exchanged here in 2015; and to discussions around the diversities and similarities of human societies and cultures,  the ways in which they deal with present, past and future challenges.

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Oral history: bringing our results back to the people

Honouring our partners in the field: Arctic elders and their representatives
Most of the Rovaniemi anthropology research team went this last week to Naryan Mar, the capital of the European Russian Nenets Autnomous Okrug, for celebrating the 25th anniversary of our field partners there, Nenets peoples association Yasavey. Congratulations!

The posh "Arktika" culture and business centre in Naryan Mar was chosen to be an appropriate venue for our presentation

The posh “Arktika” culture and business centre in Naryan Mar was chosen to be an appropriate venue for our presentation

We are honoured and proud that they granted us as only foreign partner a whole hour in their anniversary programme, and thankful to the Naryan-Mar Social and Humanitarian college for hosting us.
Over the last four years, the Nenets Okrug was one of the key regions for our ORHELIA oral history project, and nowhere our Finnish Academy project (decision 251111) got more material on Arctic indigenous people’s oral history than here in the Nenets Okrug. That is thanks to Stephan Dudeck and his partners in the field. Continue reading

Posted in Announcements, Fieldwork, Indigenous Peoples, oral history, Publications, Russian North, teaching | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

New Article on Extractive Industries in Indigenous Areas in Canada and Sweden

New article “Effects of mining on reindeer/caribou populations and indigenous livelihoods: community-based monitoring by Sami reindeer herders in Sweden and First Nations in Canada” in The Polar Journal, Volume 4, Issue 1, 2014, by Thora Martina Herrmann, Per Sandström, Karin Granqvist, Natalie D’Astous, Jonas Vannar, Hugo Asselin, Nadia Saganash, John Mameamskum, George Guanish, Jean-Baptiste Loon & Rick Cuciurean.

 RPOLcover 1..2Abstract:

This paper explores the effects of human disturbances associated with mine development in the Arctic on habitat and populations of reindeer/caribou (both Rangifer tarandus), and implications for reindeer husbandry and caribou hunting of indigenous Sami people in Sweden and First Nations in Canada. Through three case studies, we illustrate how Cree and Naskapi communities develop community-based geospatial information tools to collect field data on caribou migration and habitat changes, and how Sami reindeer herders use GIS to gather information about reindeer husbandry to better communicate impacts of mining on reindeer grazing areas. Findings indicate impacts on the use of disturbed habitat by reindeer/caribou, on migration routes, and northern livelihoods. The three cases present novel methods for community-based environmental monitoring, with applications in hazards mapping and denote the active engagement of indigenous communities in polar environmental assessments, generating community-oriented data for land use management decisions. They also illustrate how technology can lead to better communication and its role for empowerment.

Key words: mining, disturbance, reindeer, caribou, Sami, First Nations, community-based environmental monitoring, communication, local and landscape level.

Epilogue

In the case for the field of research in Sweden, the two Sami villages used an abstract of the article written by me – Karin Granqvist – and Per Sandström in their overruling of Jokkmokk Iron Mines AB’s application for concession license at Kallak. The County Administrative Board in the county of Norrbotten in Sweden, decided this October not to give JIMAB permission to exploit for ore at Kallak. JIMAB has now to overrule that decision to the Swedish Government if the company wants a concession license, but even so their application can be turned down.

DSC_0077 DSC_0078_20141208180645665

 

Posted in All, Extractive Industries, Fennoscandia, Fieldwork, Indigenous Peoples, North American North, Publications, Sámi, Theoretical Issues | Leave a comment