Nomadism was widely perceived as a developmental problem by state administrators in the XX century, in capitalist as well as socialist countries. This article examines the strategies and effects of sedentarization policies in the forest (taiga) zone of the Soviet Union in the 1940s and 1950s. The different aspects of the state’s sedentarization campaign – administrative restructuring, collectivization, and the development of new industrial branches – are illuminated through examples of official documents and responses by Evenki reindeer nomads who were affected by this policy. Responses include reindeer nomads’ comments on how their spatial practices were subject to state-instigated change. Building on Gail Fondahl’s concept of “socialist enclosure”, the author develops the concept of “cognitive enclosure” to broach the very palpable consequences of sedentarisation on people’s perception of space and skills of moving. Examples are: learning to live in a house, unlearning certain modes of travelling, and navigating new environments. Sources used for this article comprise archival material from Central Siberia, ethnographies by scholars who have worked in this and adjacent areas, and the author’s own field observations from different regions
Oct 2, 2020
Feb 28, 2017
Sochacki, Zdzisław (1927–2011)
Damszel-Turek, Edyta Jaskulska, Marta
Bukowski, Zbigniew (1931– )
Maciejczak, Marek (1952– ) Polska Akademia Nauk. Instytut Filozofii i Socjologii. Wydawnictwo.