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Leaving Footprints in the Taiga

Luck, Spirits and Ambivalence among the Siberian Orochen Reindeer Herders and Hunters

Donatas BrandiĊĦauskas

305 pages, 32 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-238-8 $120.00/£85.00 Hb Published (October 2016)

eISBN 978-1-78533-239-5 eBook

Hb   Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Buy the ebook from these vendors

“The ethnographic material and his theoretical argument makes the book a worthwhile contribution to anthropological knowledge about Siberian hunter/herders specifically and about hunter/herders and indeed all humans who must carve out a living in relation to their natural and supernatural environments—which means all humans—generally.” · Anthropology Review Database

“This is an outstanding piece of original anthropological research based on long-term fieldwork in Siberia. The insights from the field are neatly interwoven with theoretical discussions and deeper reflexive engagement with the wider research literature. The result is a compelling and insightful study that will stimulate widespread discussion and debate.” · Peter Jordan, University of Groningen

“This book makes an important contribution to the literature on herding and hunter societies in the twenty-first century, societies faced with adapting to rapid environmental and social change.” · Gail Fondahl, University of Northern British Columbia

Nowhere have recent environmental and social changes been more pronounced than in post-Soviet Siberia. Donatas Brandišauskas probes the strategies that Orochen reindeer herders of southeastern Siberia have developed to navigate these changes. “Catching luck” is one such strategy that plays a central role in Orochen cosmology -- luck implies a vernacular theory of causality based on active interactions of humans, non-humans, material objects, and places.  Brandišauskas describes in rich details the skills, knowledge, ritual practices, storytelling, and movements that enable the Orochen to “catch luck” (or not, sometimes), to navigate times of change and upheaval.

Donatas Brandišauskas is Associate Professor and Senior Researcher at Vilnius University in Lithuania. He is Honorary Research Fellow at Aberdeen University and Associate Researcher at University of Versailles (CEARC) in France.

Series: Volume 1, Studies in the Circumpolar North
Subject: General Anthropology
Area: Asia

LC: DK759.O7 B73 2016

BISAC: SOC002010 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Anthropology/Cultural; SOC062000 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Indigenous Studies

BIC: JHMC Social & cultural anthropology, ethnography


List of Figures
A Note on Transliteration

Introduction: Luck, Spirits and Places

Chapter 1. People I lived With: Community, Subsistence and Skills
Chapter 2. Luck, spirits and domination
Chapter 3. Sharing, Trust and Accumulation
Chapter 4.‘Relying On My Own Two’: Walking and Luck
Chapter 5. Living Places: Tracking Animals and Camps
Chapter 6. Mastery of Time: Weather and Opportunities
Chapter 7. Herding, Hunting and Ambiguity
Chapter 8. Rock Art, Shamans and Healing
Chapter 9. Conclusions: Ambivalence, Reciprocity and Luck

Glossary of Orochen and Russian Terms    

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