Article Information


Julia Litvin (, Svetlana Yalovitsyna

Karelian Research Centre, Russian Academy of Sciences (KarRC RAS), Petrozavodsk, Russia

Citation: Litvin J., Yalovitsyna S. (2019) Obrazy “svoy-chuzhoy” v glubinnykh intervyu s karelami i pereselentsami v Kareliyu [Images of «friend-or-alien» in in-depth interviews with Karelians and immigrants in Karelia]. Zhurnal sotsiologii i sotsialnoy antropologii [The Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology], 22(2): 147-172 (in Russian).

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Abstract. The Republic of Karelia is often perceived as a «territory of tolerance» in terms of inter-ethnic relations. However, migration processes of the XX–XXI centuries correct this opinion (e.g. conflict in Kondopoga in 2006). The study of public discourse on indigenous and non-indigenous contacts is important for the formulation of regional national policy and the achievement of sustainable development. The aim of the article is to characterize the mutual images of Karelians and immigrants of the last 20–30 years in the Republic of Karelia and markers of ethnic and cultural boundaries between them. The information is based on biographical interviews conducted in three towns of the Republic of Karelia — Petrozavodsk, Olonets, Kostomuksha in 2018 with Karelians and immigrants from the Caucasus and Central Asia. In methodological terms, the authors are guided by the principles and approaches of interpretive sociology, and therefore use detailed unstructured interviews around the main research question about the nature of the relationship between immigrants and the indigenous population (Karelians). The multi-stage interpretation of the received materials (personal, collective, with the participation of respondents and researchers) allows authors to present a wide motivated picture of opinions about the nature of immigrants' relations with the Karelians. The study revealed spatial features of interethnic interaction in the towns of Karelia. Respondents fixed temporary changes in contacts between national groups, areas of misunderstanding and tension. The study identified markers of ethno-cultural boundaries (in particular, language and behavioral).

Keywords: ethno-cultural identity, migrants, host society, Karelia, stereotypes, ethnic boundaries, in-depth interview. 


The study was financially supported by the RAS program of basic scientific research “Social and Humanitarian Aspects of Sustainable Development and Strategic Breakthrough of Russia”, subprogram “Culturally Complex Societies: Understanding and Management”, within the framework of the state task of the Karelian Research Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences (AAAA-A18-118030190092-2; AAAA-A18-118030190093-9).


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