Barentsburg: Place names (Svalbard fieldwork, June 2013)

Anna Stammler-Gossmann Soviet spirit My next stop in the Svalbard archipelago is the tiny Russian settlement of Barentsburg. How many people are living here is hard to say. The number of residents may change by the end of June and August, when an airplane from Moscow lands in Longyearbyen airport. It may bring 100 workers …

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The ’Svalbardianers’ community of Longyearbyen: coming and going …and maybe coming back (Svalbard fieldwork, June 2013)

Anna Stammler-Gossmann Diversified community. Everybody here is an outsider, but as my conversation partner in the most popular café tells me, ‘there are still status values: how long have you been living here? How far did you go? Maybe it is also about your polar bear story’. She knows everyone in the café (tourists excluded): …

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Arctic anthropology of Arctic biology (Svalbard fieldwork, June 2013)

Anna Stammler-Gossmann Polar bear and community of Longyearbyen Of course, the polar bear is the most prominent animal symbol of Svalbard. Once an animal is charged with this representational status, it means, as Franklin states, that every positive act towards it simultaneously endorses the nation or group that it represents (Franklin, A. 2006. Animal Nation: …

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Everything is northernmost here (Svalbard fieldwork, June 2013)

Anna Stammler-Gossmann The Arctic as a place to live Svalbard is a place where everything is the northernmost – municipality, hotels, hospital, schools, kinder gardens, church and pubs. In Longyearbyen (the administrative center of Svalbard) there even is the northernmost sushi restaurant and kebab stand, which opened up here recently. On the wall of a …

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Fishing fieldwork, ORHELIA Arctic Yakutia

My last summer entry from this Yakutia fieldwork finally brings me to the fieldwork PRACTICE there with the inhabitants of the Lena Delta and coastal area in Yakutia. As some of you may know, one of our crucial methodological approaches in the ORHELIA project is to marry intensive life-history interviewing with anthropological participant observation, which …

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From the Gold Road to the Golden River of Ivalo and its People (June 2013)

(text by Terhi Vuojala-Magga, photos Stephan Dudeck) Visiting Terhi in Kuttura was an adventure, once again – and meeting Stephan was a joy, once again (or Steppa, as we call him, in a more familiar way). We don‘t know how much anthropology plays a role in our lives, or the other way around, are we …

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Finnish, Lithuanian and local resettlers in the 1940s to the Lena Delta

Today I continue fieldwork reports from the ORHELIA fieldwork in the Lena Delta in cooperation with Yakutsk University (NEFU). During our first walk through the village of Bykov Mys we found out about the great proud but also sad history in Soviet times. Completely unexpected for us was the news of extensive Finnish resettlement to …

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Bykov Mys, fuzzy ethnic identities at the edge of an eroding Peninsula in the Arctic Ocean

From Tiksi you go another 50 km by motor boat to the village of Cape Bykov (Bykov Mys), where 500 people engage at 72 degrees northern latitude and harsh climate engage in coastal fishing all over the Lena River Delta. Today the only still remaining proper kolkhoz (cooperative enterprise) in the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) is …

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New field site in East Siberia, Lena Delta and Tiksi

Until last year it used to be very easy to get to this fieldsite in the Lena River Delta, because direct flights from Moscow brought you to Tiksi in 6 hours. But last year the Russian army who used to run the airbase in Tiksi closed it, and shipped out all the security equipment, so …

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Oral History of the Arctic – along the shores of the ocean

The Orhelia researchers in the anthropology research team are having an intensive fieldwork season. We collect material that allows us to compare how the inhabitants of Eurasia's Arctic shoreline were affected by and respond to different state policies designed in capital cities by governments that are very far from the centres of life of our …

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