Article Information


Nikolai Goncharov (

Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera), Russian Academy of Sciences, Saint Petersburg, Russia

Citation: Goncharov N. (2021) «Sgushcheniya» prostranstva v protsesse sobiratel'stva, rybolovstva i okhoty: na primere sela Zhigansk, Respublika Sakha (Yakutiya). [“Densifications” of space in the process of gathering, fishing and hunting: on the example of Zhigansk village, Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)]. Zhurnal sotsiologii i sotsialnoy antropologii [The Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology], 24(2): 181–211 (in Russian).

Abstract. In this article, based on field materials collected by the author during an expedition to the Zhigansk village of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) in 2018, the aspects of space transformation related to the implementation of economic activities are analyzed. The village is located beyond the Arctic Circle on the left bank of the Lena River. Hunting, fishing and gathering at the present time still retain an important status in the structure of the local occupations, which is due to the location of the settlement and the socio-cultural characteristics of its inhabitants. Being important components in food and economic relations, these practices are at the same time special ways of interacting with space. The author, drawing on materials on anthropology, ethnography and philosophy, relying on the theoretical developments of A. Lefebvre and T. Ingold, makes an attempt to conceptualize ethnographic observations. The starting point of the study is the division into “natural” (primary) and “social” (secondary) spaces. In the process of human activity, there is a “thickening” and “condensation” of many actors of social space, which occurs in the natural environment and is accompanied by the formation of a single communicative-activity field, in which intentionality and thinking is possessed not only by a person, but by the entire formed bundle of activity components. In that case differentiation into “natural” and “social” disappear. The author suggests to supplement the static models of economic and cultural types that miss the temporal and some spatial aspects. As a conceptual solution he proposes morphological consideration of activity in the form of alternation of densification of elements including their connections around temporary centers — and the subsequent dispersal of the resulting densities.

Keywords: Yakutia, Zhigansk, hunting, fishing, gathering, space, densification, activity.


Anderson D.G. (2000) Identity and ecology in Arctic Siberia: The Number One Reindeer Brigade. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Arzyutov D.V. (2020) Prirucheniie energii v nenetskih tundrah: okruzhaiuschaia sreda i tehnologii na rossiiskom Severe [Taming Energy in the Nenets Tundra: Environment and Technologies in the Russian North]. In: Davydov V.N. (ed.) Energija Arktiki i Sibiri: ispol'zovaniie  resursov v kontekste social'no-ekonomicheskih izmenenii [The energy of the Arctic and Siberia: the use of resources in the context of socio-economic changes]. Moscow: Izd-vo vost. lit.: 114–142 (in print) (in Russian).

Arzyutov D.V., Okotetto H.H. (2018) Sviazyvaia veschi, zhivotnyh i ludei: k social'noi topologii nenetskih uzlov [Linking things, animals and people: towards the social topology of the Nenets knots]. In: Fedorova N.V. (ed.) Arkheologiia Arktiki [Arctic archaeology]. Vol. 5. Omsk: Omskblankizdat: 89–106 (in Russian).

Bateson G. (1973) Steps to an Ecology of Mind. London: Fontana.

Bogoraz V.G. (1991) Material'naia kul'tura chukchei [Material culture of the Chukchi]. Moscow: Nauka (in Russian).

Brandišauskas D. (2019) Leaving Footprint in the Taiga. Luck, Spirits and Ambivalence among the Siberian Orochen Reindeer Herders and Hunters. New York; Oxford: Berghahn.

Davydov V.N. (2011) People on the Move: Development Projects and the Use of Space by Northern Baikal Reindeer Herders, Hunters and Fishermen. Thesis for the degree of PhD. Aberdeen.

Davydov V.N. (2017) Temporality of Movements in the North. Sibirica, 16(3): 14–34.

Davydov V.N. (2018a) Mobil'nost' kak refleksivnyi i kreativnyi process: ispol'zovaniie infrastruktury evenkami Vostochnoi Sibiri [Mobility as a reflexive and creative process: the use of infrastructure by the evenks of Eastern Siberia]. Ural'skii istoricheskii vestnik [Ural historical journal], 3(60): 24–30 (in Russian).

Davydov V.N. (2018b) Strategii ispol'zovaniia prostranstva i rezhimy avtonomnosti: otnosheniia evenkov i gosudarstva na Severnom Baikale [Strategies for using space and modes of autonomy: relations between the Evenks and the state on North Baikal]. Etnografiia [Ethnografia], 2: 46–66 (in Russian).

Davydov V.N., Simonova V.V., Sem T.I., Brandišauskas D. (2016) Ogon', voda, veter i kamen' v evenkiiskih landshaftah. Otnosheniia cheloveka i prirody v Baikal'skoi Sibiri [Fire, water, wind and stone in Evenk landscapes. Relations between man and nature in Baikal Siberia]. St. Petersburg: MAE RAN (in Russian).

Davydova E.A. (2019) Holodil'nik, sol' i sahar: dobycha i tehnologii obrabotki pishhi na Chukotke [Refrigerator, salt and sugar: technologies of getting and processing food in Chukotka]. Sibirskie istoricheskiie issledovanija [Siberia Historical Research], 2: 143–161 (in Russian).

Gibson J. (1988) Ekologicheskii podhod k zritel'nomu vosprijatiiu [The Ecological Approach to visual Perception]. Moscow: Progress (in Russian).

Gill K. (2014) In conversation with Tim Ingold. Journal of Landscape Architecture, 9(2): 50–53.

Golovnev A.V. (2018) Kochevniki Arktiki: iskusstvo dvizheniia [Arctic nomads: the art of movement]. Etnografiia [Etnografia], 2: 6–45 (in Russian).

Golovnev A.V., Kukanov D.A., Perevalova E.V. (2018) Arktika: atlas kochevyh tehnologii [Arctic: atlas of nomadic technologies]. St. Petersburg: MAE RAN (in Russian).

Gurvich I.S. (1977) Kul'tura severnyh iakutov-olenevodov. K voprosu o pozdnih etapah formirovaniia iakutskogo naroda [The culture of the northern Yakut reindeer herders. On the issue of the late stages of the formation of the Yakut people]. Moscow: Nauka (in Russian).

Ingold T. (1993) The Temporality of the Landscape. World Archaeology, 2: 152–174.

Ingold T. (2007) Materials against materiality. Archaeological Dialogues, 14(1): 1–16.

Ingold T. (2011) The Perception of the Environment. London; New York: Routledge.

Ingold T. (2013) Making: Anthropology, Archaeology, Art and Architecture. London; New York: Routledge.

Ingold T. (2018) One World Anthropology. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, 8 (1/2): 158–171.

Jochelson V.I. (2005) Iukagiry i iukagirizirovannyie tungusy [Yukaghirs and Yukaghirized Tungus]. Novosibirsk: Nauka (in Russian).

Khoroshikh P.P. (1950) Putevye znaki evenkov-ohotnikov (iz materialov po etnografii evenkov reki Nizhnei Tunguski) [Trail signs of the Evenks-hunters (from materials on the ethnography of the Evenks of the Nizhnyaya Tunguska River)]. Kratkie soobshheniia Instituta etnografii [Brief reports of the Institute of Ethnography], 10: 57–60 (in Russian).

Kozmin V.A. (2003) Olenevodcheskaia kul'tura narodov Zapadnoi Sibiri [Reindeer breeding culture of the peoples of Western Siberia]. St. Petersburg: Izdatel'stvo Sankt-Peterburgskogo universiteta (in Russian).

Latour B. (2004) Gde nedostaiushhaia massa? Sotsiologiia odnoi dveri [Where are the missing masses? The sociology of a few mundane artifacts]. Neprikosnovennyi zapas [Emergency ration], 2: 5–19 (in Russian).

Latour B. (2020) Peresborka sotsial'nogo: vvedeniie v aktorno-setevuiu teoriiu [Reassembling the social. An introduction to actor-network-theory]. Moscow: Izd. dom Vysshei shkoly ekonomiki (in Russian).

Lefebvre A. (2015) Proizvodstvo prostranstva [The production of space]. Moscow: Strelka Press (in Russian).

Lefebvre H. (2004) Rhythmanalysis: Space, Time and Everyday Life. London: Continuum.

Levin M.N., Cheboksarov N.N. (1955) Hoziajstvenno-kul'turnye tipy i istoriko-etnograficheskiie oblasti [Economic and cultural types and historical and ethnographic areas]. Sovetskaia etnografiia [Sovetskaia etnografiia], 4: 3–17 (in Russian).

Nikitina S.E. (red.) (2012) Zhiganskii ulus: istoriia, kul'tura, fol'klor [Zhigansk region: history, culture, folklore]. Iakutsk: Bichik (in Russian).

Selezneva I.A., Seleznev A.G. (2001) Rybolovstvo korennogo naseleniia Tarsko-Irtyshskogo basseina (po materialam poselenii tarskih tatar) [Fishing of the indigenous population of the Tara-Irtysh basin (based on materials from the settlements of the Tara Tatars)]. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie [Etnograficheskoe obozrenie], 6: 48–66 (in Russian).

Sirina A.A. (2012) Evenki i eveny v sovremennom mire: samosoznanie, prirodopol'zovanie, mirovozzrenie [Evenks and Evens in the modern world: self-awareness, nature management, worldview]. Moscow: Vostochnaya literature (in Russian).

Stepanoff C., Marchina C., Fossier C., Bureau N. (2017) Animal Autonomy and Intermittent Coexistences. Current Anthropology, 58: 57–81.

Stepanova O.B. (2020) Sel'kupskie man'shhiki: proishozhdenie, izgotovlenie, ispol'zovanie [Selkup manshchiks: origin, manufacture, use]. Kunstkamera [Kunstkamera], 2(8): 212–220 (in Russian).

Tilley C. (1994) A Phenomenology of Landscape — Place Paths and Monuments. Oxford; Providence: Berg.

Tugolukov V.A. (1969) Sledopyty verhom na olenjah [Reindeer Riding Pathfinders]. Moscow: Nauka (in Russian).

Tugolukov V.A. (1979) Kto vy, iukagiry? [Who are you, Yukaghirs?] Moscow: Nauka (in Russian).

Vasilevich G. M. (1969) Evenki. Istoriko-etnograficheskiie ocherki (XVIII — nachalo XX v.) [Evenki. Historical-ethnographical essays (18th century – early 20th century)]. Leningrad: Nauka (in Russian).

Ventsel A. (2006) Hunter-herder continuum in Anabarski district, NW Sakha, Siberia, Russian Federation. Nomadic Peoples, 10(2): 68–86.

Willerslev R. (2007) Soul Hunters: Hunting, Animism, and Personhood Among the Siberian Yukagirs. Berkeley; Los Angeles; London: University of California Press.

Тszin A.L. (2017) Grib na kraiu sveta. O vozmozhnosti zhizni na ruinah kapitalizma [The mushroom at the end of the world: on the possibility of life in capitalist ruins]. Moscow: Ad Marginem Press (in Russian).