Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The Pomory : dimensions of a contested identity on the White Sea coast
Author: Wahnsiedler, Natalie
ISNI:       0000 0004 9358 5270
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2019
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Please try the link below.
Access from Institution:
This thesis is an anthropological inquiry into questions of identity on the White Sea coast in the northwest of Russia. The case of Pomory provides a curious case to think about contested identities due to the diversity of issues around the question “Who are the Pomory?” The chapters presented in this thesis deal with the diverse dimensions of Pomor identity touching upon lived experience and belonging, ethnographic conceptualisations, recent indigeneity claims, as well as current identity negotiations. This thesis explores various historical and contemporary contexts, which have led to certain identity claims, concepts, and self-identifications. In doing so, my aim is to contribute to anthropological studies of identity in general and the research of contested identities in particular. I argue that Pomor identity is both formal and performed. Pomor identity emerged in the process of expansion of Slavic people to the north. Pomory acquired the knowledge of the river systems in the north and developed remarkable seagoing qualities. Similarly to the Cossack identity, their identity was based not on ethnic but rather on occupational as well as social and legal categories. Pomor identity became rooted in practices of promysly, such as fisheries and seal hunting. The recent economic decline and tightening of fishing regulations have posed new challenges to the White Sea coast dwellers, who often point out the discrepancy between them being Pomory and not being allowed to fish. Pomor identity has been formalised in ethnographic descriptions as well as within the Soviet etnos theory. Early ethnographic accounts of the nineteenth century, partially driven by a humanistic mission and curiosity, described Pomory as a special group within the Russian population due to their unique livelihoods and seagoing qualities. Soviet ethnographers, who tried to capture Pomor identity within etnos theory introduced a special category of a subetnos for which Pomory became the prime example. While on the one hand there are clear images and understandings of who the Pomory are – “Russian seafarers, fishermen, and seal hunters”, the recent debates on Pomor indigeneity claims and people’s self perceptions in the villages reveal a far more differentiated picture.
Supervisor: Anderson, David George ; Argounova-Low, Tatiana Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Ethnology ; Identity (Philosophical concept) ; Fisheries ; White Sea Region (Russia)