Living with Spirits: contemporary sacral practices and appropriation
of social landscapes in Southern Siberia
(62nd Meeting Friedensau, 2019)
The paper presents preliminary results of an ongoing project, where many contemporary anthropological topics became intertwined — preservation and creation of traditions, and their broadcast channels, “automatic writing”, commercialization of imagined cultures, personal and group identity(-ies), non-oral transmission of oral literature, new/old religions, indigenous perspectivism, ideology of extractivism, to name a few.
The presenter discusses two cases from Kemerovo (the Shors of Lower Mras region) and Altai (the Altai people of Karakol valley) regions, observed in the last years. It is shown how local indigenous groups accept / reject the idea of using a “colonial language”, the language of the majority, how their own language and practices, where mountains, rivers, trees, and all the uncountable non-human beings (master-spirits) — seen as real, historical and valuable, would become a part of contemporary discourses, and how different cultural interpretations are used, forgotten, or invented for different social purposes.
The paper has been written under the project ‘Contemporary sacral practices of social landscape development in South Altai’ (RFBR, No. 18-09-00744).