Recreating Belongingness. Neotraditionalism in the Multicultural Russian North.

Project Details


This project examines the (re)creation of religious practices and ideas among people speaking Uralic languages in the Russian North. The objective of this project will be to illuminate current strategies of creating “belongingness,” ethnic and otherwise, that draws on traditions of the (mythic) past, and manifests in local forms of neotraditionalism. The new uses of myth traditions open up possibilities for analysing the processes of reconstruction, recontextualisation and constant variation characteristic of mythic-historical discourse. This corresponds with communities who are active in determining the meanings and significance of ethnic cults and their sites. The research will pay special attention to local forms of neotraditionalism, such as popular practices of Orthodoxy and the use of ethnic religious traditions and sacred places in present day contexts. Due to the cultural multiplicity of North Russian communities, this study will evaluate the different ‘voices’ of minorities in culture-making processes. The field work will investigate private and public representations of ethnic beliefs and ritualism, and its interaction with popular and official forms of Orthodoxy in the Russian North. In addition to observing reactions by local groups to these institutions, this project will also study religious meanings of narratives and the role of the holy places in present day religious practices. The project’s main theoretical themes, neotraditionalism and the idea of belongingness, will be applied to the researchers’ approach in interpreting observations of political and cultural changes, recordings of rituals, interviews, discussions and other field materials. The results of the project will add to the knowledge of the ongoing socio-cultural processes of Northern Russia and contribute to the understanding of the local manifestations and counter-currencies of globalisation.
Effective start/end date01/07/200631/12/2009

Fields of Science

  • 616 Other humanities
  • Folklore Studies
  • Russia
  • Uralic
  • folk belief
  • oral tradition