Accepted Paper:

Shamanism and tradition: assessing spiritual revival and traditional economy in the Sakha Republic  
Lia Zola (University of Turin)

Paper long abstract:

My paper aims at investigating the issue of religious revival in the Sakha Republic (Yakutia). The Sakha people normally speak of two kinds of shamanism, roughly named "black" and "white". They correspond to two sorts of relations with two sets of different spirits: benevolent god-spirits of cattle breeding ajyy and spirits belonging to the natural and domestic realms itchi. The two kinds of shamanism and their relations with the spirits also reflect to two different economic systems praticed in the Sakha society until the Soviet period: hunting and cattle, expecially horse breeding. In the last fifteen years Sakha Republic has witnessed a spiritual and cultural revival that tend to re-establish elements belonging to the material culture of the Sakha people and to their main economic activity, cattle breeding, mostly in public, national rituals and ceremonies. At the same time shamanic revival emphasizes mostly white shamanism and its links to horse breeding: this provides an interesting point for investigating the implications of the return of "tradition" and "traditional economy".

Panel W062
Post-Soviet religion and Russia's economic crises