Languages, Minorities and Social Psychology

ORHELIA and anthropology research team member Roza Laptander shares the following from a conference she presented at:

The 13 International Conference on Language and Social Psychology (ICLASP), is an initiative of the International Association of Language and Social Psychology (IALSP), which was organized in conjunction with Mercator, European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning. The conference was last week in Leeuwarden, the capital city of the Friesland (the Netherlands).

Roza Laptander presenting in the Netherlands

On the Conference participants from different parts of the World discussed the present situation of minority languages. How to safe languages and how to make people to speak them again is an urgent question. There were different presentations about the Linguistic Landscape, Communication, Multilinguasm, Teaching Minority languages, Ethnic Minorities and Tourism.
Continue reading “Languages, Minorities and Social Psychology”

Oral history – Mapping Endangered Oral Cultures Cambridge

Will he listen to the story of his grandfather Anniko Khorotetto when he grows up? Tambei Tundra, Yamal 2011

For those interested in oral history, heritage and archiving: Here are some impressions of the “Charting vanishing voices” workshop, held by the Cambridge World Oral Literature Project .  The workshop is on recent developments all over the world preserving oral cultural heritage. people from academic projects, practitioners, and data archiving specialists working with advanced multimedia technologies talked about archiving, questions of access for future generations, and recent research

I was there there from the ORHELIA project because I wanted to find out from professionals like google, UNESCO and the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics about their technologies of data accessibility, archiving mapping. Continue reading “Oral history – Mapping Endangered Oral Cultures Cambridge”

Workshops series on Identity, Politics and Place in relation to indigenous peoples in Leipzig.

Friday 22 June 2012 I participated to a workshop in Leipzig, at the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography, on the theme: “Identity, Politics, Place and Representation”.
The workshop had been preceded the day before (21.06.2012) by a public lecture given by Oren Yiftachel, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, with the title of – Urban Regimes and ‘Gray Spacing’: Between Privatizing Democracy and ‘Creeping Apartheid’.

Professor Oren Yiftachel during the public lecture.

An interesting lecture that touched upon “the impact of structural economic, identity and governance tensions on urban regimes. It draws attention to the pervasive emergence of ‘gray spaces’; that is, informal, temporary or illegal developments, transactions and populations. ‘Gray-spacing’ has become a central strategy to manage the unwanted/irremovable, putting in train a process of ‘creeping urban apartheid’” (Lecture abstract -2012, Yiftachel). This issues were analysed by referring to research findings related to various cities around Europe, Africa and Asia, and “with special focus on the ‘ethnocratic’ cities of Israel/Palestine”(Lecture abstract -2012, Yiftachel). Continue reading “Workshops series on Identity, Politics and Place in relation to indigenous peoples in Leipzig.”

Determining the wellness of Arctic Communities

Colleague Stephanie Irbacher-Fox from Yellowknife, NWT, Canada, sent around this call for papers for an interesting conference. Basically all topics relating to the wellbeing and viability of livelihoods in the North are welcome. They also invite contributions from the non-Canadian North. If somebody has money to go there, I’m sure it would be a rewarding experience.

The Northern Governance and Economy Conference Steering Committee invites
proposals for papers at the conference taking place October 10-12 in
Yellowknife, NT, Canada. The main conference sponsor is the Social Sciences
and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Proposals are due June 30, 2012.

The purpose of this interdisciplinary conference is to bring together
academics, community and business decision makers, and community members to
share information and create networks to spark new and original thinking
about social determinants of economic wellness and prosperity in Canada¹s
Northwest Territories, informed by comparative experiences in the
circumpolar North and among Indigenous peoples in North America. Social
determinants are conditions determining the wellness of communities:
educational attainment, strength of culture, effective governance
institutions, good health. Social determinants, and the state of communities
with respect to social issues have a significant impact on the economy.

Papers are invited which address the following topics:

– Indigenous economies and economic paradigms;
– Social determinants of economic opportunity and development;
– Factors for/economic successes in Indigenous communities;
– Partnerships between Northern and/or Indigenous communities and business;
– Political institutions and economic wellness;
– Capacity building for economic success;
– Colonization impacts: challenges and solutions;
– Resource extraction impacts and Indigenous peoples;
– Resource governance and social, cultural and economic wellness;
-Environmental and economic sustainability;
– Land claims, self government, and economic development.

Applicants should send a biography and abstract for consideration no later than
June 30, 2012. Paper abstracts should be up to 250 words in length,
submitted in .doc or .docx format to the Steering Committee at Final versions of papers must be provided to panel
chairs by October 01, 2012.

For more information please go to:

Arctic logistics

Even if logistic is not your thing, like in my case, you cannot avoid this challenge if you have to move in this northern area between Finland (Lapland) and Norway (Finnmark). After hours and hours of surfing in internet you come to one result – there is no public transport between Kirkenes and Finnish border and vice versa. In the winter time the Finnish post bus can bring you almost to the Norwegian border – Näätämö. Be prepared that it will take ages, because the bus makes a stop every kilometre. The driver opens the window and from few meters distance makes a master shot with the post into the hole of the post box. You may be the only passenger in the bus and you have ideal conditions to use the bus as an anthropological tool (for example, for the cross border research).
The bus from Inari (Finland) can bring you to the last point on the Finnish site, Näätämö. There is a border supermarket established for the Norwegian customers (good opportunity for the research on ‘border as resource’ issue, see also Stammler-Gossmann, Anna. 2012. ‘Winter-tyres-for-a-flower-bed’: Shuttle trade on the Finnish-Russian border. Chapter: Finnish-Russian border In: Bruns, B. and J. Miggelbrink (Eds.). Subverting Borders.Doing Research on Smuggling and Small-Scale Trade. Wiesbaden: VS VerlagfürSozialwissenschaften, pp. 225 – 247).

In the winter time the post bus brought me to this place almost at midnight. In May-June the bus from Inari arrives after 7pm. Unfortunately, the ‘K-market’ is closed at this time and the place is empty. However, there are still 55 km between Näätämö and Kirkenes.

My fieldwork is over and I am leaving Norway, but how to go back to Finland? No car and limited budget? There are the same 55 km until the Norwegian-Finnish border and no public transport for this distance. Informal arrangement is the keyword for the Arctic logistic and seems to be that it works…

Anna Stammler-Gossmann

ACCESS project – Arctic Climate Change, Economy and Society

Greetings from stormy Bugøynes

‘Havet (‘ocean’ – norweg.) is giving and taking’. 

Many people in the coastal area refer to ‘giving and taking’ properties of seawater. The coastal village lives from the sea – cod/salmon/crab fishing, ‘Arctic’ tourism. The King crab, introduced to the Barents Sea from the North Pacific Ocean the 1960s by Soviet scientists, has become a blessing for the local community. While the Norwegian government and scientists are still challenged with the question – Is the King crab a curse or an asset? – the market demand for the delicacy is high and the local crab farm and processing factory create jobs for the community. The story of Bugøynes – ‘from the brink of existence to prosperity’ ( – is a successful story of survival through the different downturns (collapse of cod stocks, unemployment, aging population, outmigration) and about community viability.


Continue reading “ACCESS project – Arctic Climate Change, Economy and Society”

The cradle of fly-in/fly-out reindeer herding in Europe: greetings from Khongurei

In many works on reindeer herding Komi people are considered as innovators who made reindeer herding not only a way of life but a profitable economy. One innovation that they did in the small village of Khongurei (see my fieldwork blog Nenets Autonomous Okrug, European Russian North, turned out to be rather counter-productive in the end:

When the first Komi settlers arrived to establish the village, the reindeer herders of the Nenets Kolkhoz “Naryana Ty” (red reindeer) led a fully nomadic life with their families out in the tundra. Their children went to school in the Russian village of Kotkino and came home only for the school holidays in the summer.

View on the village of Khongurei from the River Pechora

Continue reading “The cradle of fly-in/fly-out reindeer herding in Europe: greetings from Khongurei”

Murmansk region fieldwork oral history

Nina Meschtyb, postdoc research in our ORHELIA project, shares the following impressions from her fieldtrip

Privet from Murmansk region.
It is not very hot here – around 3-7 degree, but warm water was already
switched off at houses for the summer period.  I started my trip from Murmansk.
The bus arrived late in the
evening, so I stopped for couple of nights in Hostel “S-Terminal”. Meanwhile I
found that there is a place at the 4 beds resting house at the railway station. It
cost 600 rub., quite ok . It suited me perfectly, as far as railway station is
very much at the centre and just next to the bus station. Most
of my destinations have connections with bus, so I was well positioned.

Our elder friends, hosts, partners are at times in fragile health condition. We are extremely lucky to be able to talk to them while they feel well

This fieldtrip I decided to start from continuation of my connection with nice
peoples with whom I was acquainted during the trip in early March. So I went to
Olenegorsk.  In summer time people start an intensive migration – to summer
houses, relatives etc. When I went to Olenegorsk everybody was visiting
the cemetery – it was “Troitsa” church celebration, the day of the deceased. The
time to visit those who died.  Therefore, many talks connected with that…

“…my father was the last one who died in Kanevka village, after that soon
everybody moved to Loparskaja.  He asked to bury him here, why we didn’t
настояли na tom chtobi, that to bury him in Loparskaja?? Now we have to go
extra 3 km, to that old cemetery.
– You are lucky you have at least place where to go, the place where my parents
are buried are under the water…”
… The fieldwork for our orhelia’s topic in Murmansk region is special in that
way, that except for Lovosero saami population, and especial saami of old
generation are spread very much around the region 2 in Monchegorsk, 2 or so in
Teriberka, 2 in Verkhnetulomsky, 1 in Murmashi, 1 at Loparskaya end so on….So
one should be in very good connection to get knowing the names, addresses,
phone numbers.

The Sami in Russia have a long history of relocation all over the place, to settlements that do not look like indigenous villages at all

A Woman was from Teribirka invited me to join her to her trip to this village.
That would be nice to hear from her all the stories about surroundings; I think
it will be different from the talk in town’s apartments. BUT suddenly she gets
a cold and ear pain.  So I will wait with this trip now, and will try to
investigate what can find around.

News on Arctic extractive Industries

Some news on extractive industries, indigenous people and impact studies in the Arctic have piled up recently, which I would like to share here. Most of these works are related to members of our Extractive Industries Working Group (EIWG) of IASSA, which you are welcome to join if you work on such issues.

Old Drill rigs in East Yamal, Sabetta, to be used in a new joint venture between Novatek, Gazprom and Total

1) Mark Nuttall announced a special volume of “The Polar Journal” with articles on extractive industries:              I guess the contributions by Mark Nuttall, Arthur Mason and Hannah Strauss are most relevant for our interest.

2) WWF Russia published a book critically looking at government support for oil and gas development. It claims to be a comprehensive analysis of subsidy for fossile fuels and highlights this approach as inadequate at times where humanity needs to search for alternative sources of energy. It also identifies three gaps that still inhibit Russia to go down that road: a governance gap, a knowledge and science gap, and a gap in the technical capacity for oil spill response.

3) If somebody is interested in a big wall-map of all oil and gas activities in the Arctic, this link provided by EIWG member Arthur Mason may be of interest: The Arctic Frontiers Oil & Gas Activity Map To 2017  Note that this is not related to the conference with the same name that is held annually in Tromso!
The second link that Arthur offered is a economic analysis, markets, technologies etc, called Offshore Arctic Oil and Gas Market Report To 2017

4) Arthur also shares the link to an unusually elaborate New York Times report on Shell’s plans to drill offshore Alaska in the Arctic Ocean – a plan that has a long history of indigenous and environmental opposition, but was backed recently by the Obama administration of the USA. I wonder if anybody with Alaska experience can share views on how this is discussed in Barrow or the North Slope Borough in general.

5) Has anybody information on the Extractive Industries Transparency initiative? It seems to be a major initiative, and it would be interesting to know which Arctic countries have subscribed to implement it.


Kings, predators and research on the northern top of Europe

Greetings from Bugøyfjord and Varanger fjord. I am now in Bugoynes (Pykeijä –
fin.), in ‘pikku Suomi’ (little Finland). It is a fishing community with nearly
230 inhabitants. Almost everybody here speaks Finnish. The village is small,
but several activities are going on here. There are actively operating
factories (King crab farm, fish/reindeer meat processing factory); fishing
boats are coming and going; you can see reindeer, sheep and some tourists. In
the small local shop you can get an internet access, but it is veeery slow .

From the Arctic to Dubai: Farmed King Crab. photo: Anna Stammler-Gossmann

As a tourist you can relax in the Jäämeren sauna (‘ice sea’,- fin) and
afterward you can jump directly into the sea (apropos, the fjords are ice-free
all year around). ‘Arctic Bathing’ is a tourists’ highlight and a successful
idea of the local manager. As a researcher you are learning how differently
people may refer to the same sea water. I visited today some places in Bugøynes
and among them the King Crab farm. From this tiny village the crabs (alive!)
make a big journey to Dubai, China or Moscow.