New Technologies in the Tundra: high-tech equipment, perception of space and spatial orientation of nomadic and settled populations of the Russian Arctic

Project E8 in the Collaborative Research Centre “Difference and Integration” (SFB 586), supported by the German Research Foundation.

Duration: 15.07.2008 – 14.07.2012

Head of the project: Günther Schlee
Responsible researcher: Kirill Istomin

This project builds on the project B6 realized during the second stage of the Collaborative Research Centre. The main conclusion of project B6 was that human spatial perception and orientation can be best understood as products of a cognitive system, which includes, apart from one or several human brains, also other objects and phenomena. These can be the means of transport, orientation equipment, reindeer, etc. The different forms of spatial perception shown by the groups of tundra population can be best explained by the fact, that their members experience space and solve spatial cognitive tasks in different cognitive systems. This also leads to differences in their patterns of spatial behavior. In this project, the research was focused on the dynamics of the described cognitive systems and the changes they produce in the social sphere. The main object of this research were the changes in spatial cognition, spatial orientation and land use of different groups of tundra population following the introduction of satellite and mobile telephones as well as GPS.

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