Accepted Paper:

The Nekrasov Cossacks' festive clothes: representation of identity and the heritage object  


Nina Vlaskina (Russian Academy of Sciences, Southern Scientific Centre)

Paper short abstract:

The paper aims to analyze the role of the Nekrasov Cossacks' festive clothes in the processes of maintaining their cultural heritage and representing their ethnic group identity.

Paper long abstract:

The Nekrasov Cossacks are considered to be an ethno-religious group which is remarkable for preserving their ancestors' heritage, especially traditional costume, cuisine and songs. The Cossack ataman Ignat Nekrasov led the group of the Cossacks away from religious and political persecution. For 250 years since, they have lived outside of their historical homeland and maintained limited contact with other ethnic groups. They returned to Russia in the 20th century.

Nowadays, the Nekrasovites wear traditional clothing almost exclusively for the calendrical and funeral rites. This paper will study the use of the Cossack national costume on festive occasions and interpret its role in the heritage preservation processes. I will analyze the data derived from the ethno-linguistic field research in the Russian Krasnodar and Stavropol Territories (2007, 2010, 2011), as well as published materials.

The paper will focus on the following issues:

- A short depiction of the typical Nekrasov Cossack costume and the functional hierarchy of its pieces.

- The declared immutability of the traditional costume vs. its actual transformations and reasons for that.

- Dressing the outsiders in the traditional Cossack costume: the Nekrasov Cossack clothes and the opposition of "ours / alien".

- The Cossack traditional clothes as a symbol of identity for the members of the group and as a mass media stereotype.

- The functions of the Nekrasov Cossack costume in the modern festive occasions.

- The impact of the long-term research interest in the Nekrasov Cossack costume on its use in the folk concerts and festivals.

Panel Heri013
Folk costume in the ritual year and beyond: heritage, identity marker & symbolic object (Ritual Year SIEF Working Group panel)