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    Religious Conversion and Nenets Bricolage: Making Modernity in the Polar Ural Tundra


    Vagramenko, Tatiana A. (2014) Religious Conversion and Nenets Bricolage: Making Modernity in the Polar Ural Tundra. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Abstract

    This dissertation examines the phenomenon of post-Soviet Evangelical conversion among the Nenets people living in the Polar Ural tundra. In the post-Soviet period new opportunities have been created for cross-cultural interaction, revealing a global religious market place and opening up Siberia to an ‘army’ of missionaries from different countries, making the Polar Urals a ‘battlefield’ of competitive missionary principles and life strategies. The Nenets people turned out to be open to religious change, and during the 1990s and 2000s many Nenets, both nomadic and settled, were converted into various types of Protestant Christianity. Moreover, on the emerging religious spectrum the most conservative form of Baptism, claiming from adherents the most rigorous alienation from their pre-converted past and social surroundings, appeared to be most authoritative in the region and the most successful in regard to its missionary initiatives among the rural Nenets.This appeared unexpectedly, given that Siberian Nenets are usually represented both in public discourse and ethnographic research as a stronghold of ‘traditional culture’, who have successfully resisted ‘the coming modernity’. Based on ethnographic research of a Nenets religious community in the remote village of Beloyarsk and the surrounding tundra, this study seeks to develop an understanding of conversion as a part of wider process of indigenous peoples’ engagement with global society and what they call ‘modernity’ and ‘modern life’. The main argument of the dissertation is that conversion experience develops into a Nenets bricolage, which appropriates and recycles practices, values and concepts of both Protestant culture and Nenets ‘tradition’in the construction of Nenets ‘ritualized resistance’ and in the elaboration of their own shape of modernity.The dissertationargues that, as a native response, the converts transform new religious practices into a strategy of empowerment, as a new foundation for Nenets authenticity, as a return to the true Nenets ‘traditional lifeway’.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Religious Conversion; Nenets Bricolage; Making Modernity; the Polar Ural Tundra;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Anthropology
    Item ID: 7697
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2017 11:10
    URI:

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