Golovnev A. V. Ethnography in the Russian Academic Tradition

Andrei V. GOLOVNEV — Member of the RAS, Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (the Kunstkamera) of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Russia, Saint Petersburg) 

E-mail: Andrei_golovnev@bk.ru


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ABSTRACT. The author of the first major comprehensive ethnographic survey is Johann Gottlieb Georgi, who published A Description of All the Nationalities That Inhabit the Russian State in 1776–1780. Early ethnographic papers are characterized by: (1) putting a focus on a people, or indeed all peoples, so that they become central in the narrative. Georgi made an ‘ethnic portrait of the Empire’, thus creating an image of the multiethnic Russia; (2) the significance of imagery (drawing of a costume) for the description of a people; (3) the ethnography was born in expedition, and not in office. In the 20th century national movements, together with ethnographic knowledge, played a pivotal role in the Revolution and the emergence of the USSR as a union of peoples; the first decade of the Soviet regime was marked with the nation-building and ethnic studies. In early 1930s, when the ruling elite became firmly established and no longer needed national movements and serious ethnic studies, ethnography fell out of political favour and became a secondary historical discipline. During repressions Soviet ethnographers were deeply engrossed in the subject of ethnogenesis, which gave rise to the theory of ethnos, crowned with the discussion of the 1970s with Julian Bromley and Lev Gumilev as the main opponents. In Russia, ethnography has always been based on real circumstance and need. 

KEYWORDS: ethnography, anthropology, ethnos, Russia, Empire, Soviet making of the nation, ethnogenesis, history of science 

УДК 39:930.1(470) 

DOI 10.31250/2618-8600-2018-1-6-39



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