Our colleagues from the sustainable development research group at the Arctic Centre jointly with the Institute for Economic Studies of the Kola Science Centre RAS organise a workshop on “Politics of Development in the Barents Region”, May 17-18. The anthropology research team of the Arctic Centre will be represented there by Anna Stammler-Gossmann.
Very wisely, they chose Murmansk region’s first industrial town as a venue, the city of Kirovsk in the Khibiny mountains, where it all started with mining at a place nowadays known as “kilometre 25”, nowadays a suburb of Kirovsk just under mountain with the beautiful Saami name Kukisvumchorr.
Kirovsk is in Russia’s northwesternmost area with the regional capital Murmansk, known as the Arctic’s first and most industrialised region, and its most militarised. As part of the ESF BOREAS programme, we had a research project there called MOVE-INNOCOM (mobility and locality in industrial northern communities), about which you can find out more here: http://www.arcticcentre.org/innocom, http://www.alaska.edu/boreas/move, http://dacha.webnode.com/about-us/
From the INNOCOM fieldwork we know that the place is a fascinating arena to perceive, live and study communinty viability at the crossroads of development ideas. This is because mining there coexists with mountain tourism, for which local people and the administration have big hopes. This makes the places also interesting for studying transformation of Arctic monoindustrial cities that were founded around one resource extraction company.
It would be very interesting to hear from anybody about studies and experiences of community viability in Arctic monoindustrial cities, and to discuss from an anthropological point of view the role of local people as agents or victims of development. Comments and information welcome!
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“Competing” with the state: small scale shuttle trade on the Russian-Finnish border
Anna’s presentation at the Kirovsk workshop was commented with great interest, for it revealed so many details that many cross-border travellers sort of imagine but did not really understand. The Russian-Finnish border is one of the most regulated in the world, including a total of 8!! check points in a border zone of more than 60 km. That makes it sound rather surprising that informal practices at the border continue to be highly relevant for people living close to the border, some of which that have been making much of their living with border crossings over the last 15 years. Such informal practices include shopping, small scale trading, offering transport and courier services, individually planned tourist tours, and all kind of networking activity between cities close to the border on both sides. It turns out that in spite of increased legal regulation these networks continue to play a crucial role in people’s real life. The anthropology of small scale trader-carrier-shuttling-tourism is on the rise!!
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