Accepted Paper:

Ethnos theory in Soviet ethnography, Russian anthropology  
Anatoly Kuznetsov (Far Eastern State University)

Paper short abstract:

I discuss the evolution of ethnos theory in Soviet ethnography-Russian ethnology. The first version of ethnos theory, prepared by Shirokogoroff, was not known in the USSR or Russia. It is clear now that Shirokogoroff's theory is very important in understanding the problems of ethnos and ethnicity.

Paper long abstract:

Russian ethnography had been formed by the end of the 19th century. Further development of this field of knowledge in our country proved to be connected with Ethnos theory. The idea of ethnos meant to study some "peoples", which were considered as definite community of people with their cultural, social, physical (somatic) and other peculiarities. At the same time other conceptions including ones focused on Marxism, American cultural anthropology and others were being formed in Russian ethnography and then in ethnology. In the late 20s when the science was reorganized, that guaranteed its further inclusion in being formed totalitarian system, the theory of stadializm of N.Y. Mar which had something in common with Marxism and Stalin theory of nation were approved. Since that time the isolationistic period of the soviet ethnography developing ignored the world anthropologic tradition had begun. The interest in the ideas of foreign specialists was allowed now only under the condition of being necessarily criticized from the official position of Marxism. In the context of having been accepted Marxist ideology, which determined the theoretical basis of scientific research, there was no place for national (ethnic) differences and significance of cultural diversity to be acknowledged. The concepts of proletarian class solidarity and economic determinism were confirmed here by way of priority. However the necessity of the political course realization under the term of politethnical state made Stalin advance a slogan to form new cultures which was to be national in form and social (class) in context.

The changes of the world and country situation which had taken place after World War II showed the mistaken in the previous authority's attitude to the national factor. As a result the destruction of universalistic theory of stadializm followed, that made the conditions for the theory of ethnos to be returned in the ethnography. The works of P.I. Kushner, S.A. Tokarev, N.N. Cheboksarov, and then Y.V. Bromley and L.N. Gumelev allowed forming the basic directions and variants of the theory of ethnos. Primo dualistic aims and essentialistic sense of ethnos characterized the soviet theory for all the different conceptions of Bromley and Gumilev. The cultural peculiarities and their representatives' self-consciousness were considered to be the important features of some ethnos. The cultural problematic was being developed during that period mainly in the context of researching the philosophic aspects of this phenomenon and studying the different aspects of traditional culture.

During the post soviet period, when the official ideology was canceled and the normal relationships with foreign colleagues were allowed, important changes in transformed Russian ethnology took place. The version of the theory of ethnos by L.N. Gumilev became more accepted, and they started to study the first conception of S.M.Shirokogorov, which greatly influenced other authors' opinions. The new discipline culturology aimed at cultural problems studying appeared in Russia. The tendency to deviate from the communist heritage pressure led to the broad attracting the ideas of foreign anthropology, including the conception of ethnicity. At the same time the problems of ethnos were being developed and the emphasis on cultural aspects of this problem were placed.

Having appreciated Russian ethnological (anthropological) scientific tradition and the importance of the theory of ethnos in it, it is significant to note that there is the research potential in it, firstly in its first version of S.M. Shirokogorov, including research culture (culture as psycho mental complex), which keeps its importance.

Panel W101
Poster session