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Arctic Pastoralist Sakha: Ethnography of Evolution and Microadaptation in Siberia.


Arctic Pastoralist Sakha: Ethnography of Evolution and Microadaptation in Siberia

Hiroki Takakura

Trans Pacific Press


254 pages



Modernity and Identity in Asia Series


First published in Japanese in 2012 as Kyokuhoku no bokuchikumin Saha, this volume details the horse and cattle breeding culture of the Sakha ethnic minority in Arctic Siberia, with the aims of explaining the diversity of Siberian ethnic minority cultures from an ecological perspective and addressing the concepts of adaptation and evolution as explanations for sociocultural phenomena. It draws on the author's fieldwork to consider how Sakha society and its traditional subsistence activities conformed to the market economy after the collapse of socialism, focusing on their technology and ecology of cattle and horse breeding and their cultural history, productivity, and the flexibility of their relationship with nature. It demonstrates how they have become more interconnected with global cultural and market forces in the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union. It describes Arctic pastoralism and microadaptation; the history and culture of the Sakha people, as well as the natural environment of the Lena River middle basin; the traits of the hunting and fishing complex; grass cutting and cattle breeding, including how Russian private ownership systems impacted cultural practices; horse breeding and the practice of year-long grazing and the production and consumption of foal meat; how marketization has impacted cattle and horse breeding and the significance of the new social system these market forces created; and how microadaptation under post-socialist conditions relates to the microadaptation of Arctic pastoralism. Distributed in the US by ISBS.

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Article Type:Book review
Date:Aug 1, 2015
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