Verkhovtsev D., Petriashin S. Theories of Etnos vs Marxism: A History of Mimetic Resista

Dmitry Verkhovtsev
Saint Petersburg State University
Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation 
ORCID: 0000-0001-9232-2952 

Stanislav Petriashin
The Russian Museum of Ethnography 
Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation 
ORCID: 0000-0003-4410-7224 


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ABSTRACT. The mission of theories of Yu. V. Bromley and L. N. Gumilev was to formulate an academic discourse that would be relatively free from political discussions, and to protect the research of peoples, or etnoses, from the dogma of historical materialism, and this was the reason why they were criticized in the Soviet times. But in the post-Soviet period, they were also often criticized for reflecting and reproducing the primordialistic Soviet nationality policy. To resolve this paradox, we turn to the concept of mimetic resistance. In their conceptualizations of ethnic phenomena as something fundamentally different from socioeconomic formations, Bromley and Gumilev proceeded (consciously or unconsciously) from the historical materialism as the dominant paradigm and modeled etnos similar to socioeconomic formations and classes. In the article, we consider this reproduction-in-resistance of the Soviet ideology in their theories of etnos by using the example of the narrative of the “agents of ethnogenesis”, i.e. groups of people actively participating in the formation of an etnos and leading other people.


KEYWORDS: theory of etnos, historical materialism, Marxism, mimetic resistance, agents of ethnogenesis, Yu. V. Bromley, L. N. Gumilev, Soviet ethnography


DOI 10.31250/2618-8619-2021-1(11)-88-104
УДК 39



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