NSU Student Studies Impact of Globalization on Russian Arctic People

Na An, a student at the NSU Institute for the Humanities, comes fr om South Korea where traditional culture and values ​​have suffered from the side effects of modern civilization (depression, materialism, destruction of indigenous foundations). These concerns influenced her focus on similar processes occurring among the indigenous peoples of the Russian Arctic (Nentsy, Chukchi, Khanty, Eben, Evenki, Selkup, Saami, Eskimo, Dolgan, Chubanet, Ket, Veps, Nganasan, Yukaghir, Enets, Mansi, Koryak, Itelmen and Kerek) due to extreme changes in the economy and society under the influence of globalization. In her ethnographic study, "Peoples of Siberia: Challenges of Globalization and the Preservation of Ethnic Identity", An studies the influence of modern civilization on small cultural societies and tries to understand how to maintain a balance between the continuity of traditions and technological progress. 

An noted,

We live in a world wh ere the key concepts are globalization, development, and civilization. However, one should not forget about such fundamental questions as “What is a happy life?” and “Would a person be happier living in harmony with nature, and there was mutual understanding between people even if they are poor?”. Globalization imposes uniformity rather than cultural differences. It breaks the bonds between people and communities, between people and nature. Economic growth and social upheaval comes at the expense of spiritual and social poverty, psychological instability, and loss of cultural vitality. For some reason, we forget about those things.

Globalization has a dual effect on small ethnic communities. On the one hand, technological development helps humanity to move forward and achieve economic growth. However, the collapse of traditional societies and the destruction of cultural ecosystems have become negative consequences of progress. They contributed to the emergence of many social problems (alcoholism, unemployment, depression). Therefore, it is extremely important to preserve centuries-old cultural ties in traditional societies. 

The student continued,

Instead of developing their original culture and following the usual path of development, people find it necessary to replace  it with a new one on their traditional foundation that was built over a long period of time by previous generations. The state can protect the rights of indigenous peoples through law such as enforcing the right to use natural areas and the right to engage in traditional industrial activities. Businesses can also implement policies that ensure that the benefits of development are shared equally among indigenous peoples.  

In order to preserve the original culture, it is necessary to support folk crafts and pass on knowledge to future generations. Today, indigenous peoples provide training in their national language and culture. The announcement of 2022 as the “Year of Folk Art and Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Peoples of Russia” has inspired festivals, fairs, thematic exhibitions, lectures, master classes, and concerts by creative teams. This will introduce people to the diversity of ethnic cultures and instill a sense of pride among indigenous peoples. 

Na An emphasized, 

I believe that the preservation of traditional culture and national identity are the most important factors to help to counteract the negative consequences of an industrial society and to promote further progress.

Earlier we talked about an NSU historian who translated Treatise by Humbert Romansky.