People of the Tundra - Northern Siberia in the post-Soviet transition
by John P. Ziker
Prospect Hights, IL, Waveland Press, 2002
Year of publication
John Ziker's account of the Dolgan and Nganasan peoples of the Ust Avam community provides a valuable contribution to anthropological case studies of post-Socialist change. The setting is a remote Arctic community in Siberia, where the main productive activities are hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering. The book provides ethnographic detail on local economic practices, history, demographics, cosmology, land and resource management arrangements, and kinship, and relates these details to larger anthropological debates on human nature, relationships between colonizers and colonized, tradition, and sustainability. The book describes the devastating changes affecting indigenous people in the central Taimyr lowlands created in the wake of the Soviet Union's collapse, in particular: increasing isolation of remote communities along with a shift to non-market survival strategies; convergence of traditions among the Dolgan and Nganasan; and, increasing socio-economic differentiation between remote communities and urban centers.