Yaptik E. “Insiders” and “Outsiders” on the Obskaya–Bovanenkovo Railway
Elizaveta Yaptik – Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Moscow, Russian Federation
ABSTRACT. The industrialization of the Yamal Peninsula inevitably led to the expansion of transport infrastructure in the tundra zone, which included the construction of a railway and parallel highway, and of a gas pipeline network. The railroad tracks crossed the paths of traditional reindeer breeders. The article shows the impact of the construction of the Obskaya-Bovanenkovo Railway on the social institutions of the indigenous inhabitants of the Yamal Peninsula. It provides answers to the following questions: (1) how has the new type of transport, i.e. the railway (yesya sehery), having opened up new horizons for nomadism, affected the overall mobility and entrepreneurial activity of the indigenous inhabitants of the Arctic zone? (2) What were the nomadic Nenets perceptions of the railway and the train? (3) How do the indigenous people, following the rules of traditional ethical and legal norms, adapt technology to their needs? (4) How does the transformation of the concepts of “insiders” and “outsiders” occur in the newly developed spaces of the train? (5) How has the new transport corridor affected the mobility of residents of settlements, cities, and tundra, providing them with a year-round opportunity to visit each other? (6) Is it possible to have a harmonious relationship between industrial and traditional economic structures in the Yamal region? The article is based on the author’s field materials collected on the territory of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug (hereinafter YNAO) during two expeditions along the Obskaya–Bovanenkovo Railway in August 2016 and July 2018.
KEYWORDS: Nenets, indigenous people, Yamal Peninsula, railway, Obskaya–Bovanenkovo, friends / strangers, nomads
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