The Concept of the "Field" in Early Soviet Ethnography: A Northern Perspective

Dmitry Arzyutov, Sergei Kan

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Abstract

The conceptualization of the “field” in early Soviet ethnography had its own dynamics and elaborations within the discursive arenas of the Leningrad ethnographic school. Beginning with the prehistory of the idea of the field among the Enlightenment naturalists and travelers, we turn toward a description of long-term expeditions of the first generation of Soviet ethnographers of the North. Comparing field diaries, photographs, questionnaires, lectures, and textbooks, we consider the patterns and flexibility in the concept of the field in the first half of the twentieth century. We conclude with a discussion of how post–World War II Soviet anthropologists departed from the ideas of participant observation and long-term fieldworking prominent in earlier conceptualizations of fieldwork in Soviet ethnography.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31–74
Number of pages44
JournalSibirica : Interdisciplinary Journal of Siberian Studies
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017

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ethnography
prehistory
first generation
participant observation
textbook
twentieth century
flexibility
Ethnography
Conceptualization
questionnaire
school
Discursive
Travellers
Participant Observation
Diary
Leningrad
Ethnographic
Enlightenment
Naturalists
Anthropologists

Keywords

  • field
  • history of anthropology
  • participant observation
  • Soviet ethnography

Cite this

The Concept of the "Field" in Early Soviet Ethnography : A Northern Perspective. / Arzyutov, Dmitry; Kan, Sergei.

In: Sibirica : Interdisciplinary Journal of Siberian Studies, Vol. 16, No. 1, 01.03.2017, p. 31–74.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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