Chapter 10 – Rural culture and visions of the future General


Chapter 10 – Rural culture and visions of the future

Liz England



collectives are being retained through: o o o local loyalties

ad hoc

rules patrons as a source of funding

Buryat post-soviet construction o

“insider’s collective” – Buryat notions coincide with Soviet and globalized management views, therefore creating their own type of collective o patrilineal clans have become more important

 apical ancestor becomes a spirit inhabiting the land

 provides unbreakable ties to the land

Territory, Kinship, and Ritual


each locality has an apical ancestor attached to it the ancestral spirit is worshipped through a type of festival which the direct

descendants organize and must attend (other clans are also welcome to attend) sacred sites: o place where patrilineal kinship groups come together to worship their o apical ancestor regional – a clan will usually establish itself in a given area. Because there is a high density of people worshiping the same spirit, the sacred site will exist at a large regional level. o district – branches off a clan will occur. These areas will worship at a sacred site of a smaller district level.


arriving on the land and departing from it o upon marriage, the woman must request acceptance from the local spirit to live on the land o upon leaving the land, the man must explain the reason for departure and o promise to return based on the concept that the men bind the locality together misfortunes o explained by the unfortunate person infringing the rules laid out by the o o spirit keep spirits happy by making small offerings at each meal and drink (offer a small portion of the food/drink) visit


(ritual cairn at the sacred site) when passing within its vicinity and making a small offering (usually vodka)

Collective Community

Buryats becoming dependent on aesthetic and religious establishments in the village o

Services are unequally distributed depending on devotion to work, official position, age, and being “native to the land”

kinship discrimination o families within the clan are given nicknames which generalize their nature

(ie. The Lazy, The Generous, etc) o has become a family of unequals

The Buryat Situation compared to Other Post-Socialist Regions and Countries

although there are great differences in economies, cultures, and political traditions throughout the post-socialist world, there are certain similarities between the Buryat situation and that of Bulgaria, Hungary, and Poland: o moneymaking generalization that labour creates value , therefore one person can take advantage and make a profit on labour through market operations (get rich quick as opposed to working for it)



differences between Buryatiya and Eastern Europe: o stronger family support o territorially based communal shareholding it can be argued that the Buryat village is disintegrating o it has lost most of its Buryat culture during Soviet times o attempts to revive kin-based economy (small farms) within the collective cannot work:

 although kinship relies on mutual help, local leaders attempting to

 control resources creates enemies within the collective increased criminality people who have become dependent on the state refuse to revert to independent lifestyle

 young generation is exposed to the outside world and is more likely to get involved outside than in the collective

3 ideological stances o sovkhoism- support for the state-farm o o pre-sovietism- support for traditional kin-based society privitism- individual initiative

The New State of Bayangol

is market oriented with political ideas is sympathetic to Buryat culture and



sovietism has its own government, militia, and ability to raise taxes land codex and land-shares are given to the population o land is allotted and re-allotted in non-permanent rites of use o land shares are given to the enterprise in return for products of the landshares (ie grain, straw, fodder, etc) o effectively middle-sized farms where the workers will work for wages to o o produce for the rest of the area land shares are essentially used as currency comparable to the medieval state people had the right to a portion of the land by virtue of birth into a clancommunity

the share allotted is relative to age; the amount of land allotted changes with age

Sacrifice and sharing

sacrifices made to land-ancestors to maintain good relations between clanpolities and the land

attendance to sacrifices was regarded as mandatory until the 19th century

The Person and Identity

several kinds of identity, only one of which ceases to exist after death o part of a person may become a spirit inhabiting the natural world (a

o o mountain, cliff, tree, etc) a person may be reincarnated based on Buddhist beliefs

2 ways of having knowledge o o interior seeing (from within) external surveying (the world)

The Leader


believed to be sent from God exemplifies qualities of epic heroes

rallies and unifies people towards a common goal


if collectives are to be retained, the share-holding economy would be used




religious cults express the sense of ownership of the land to the clan the ancestor spirit is the caster of the land the Governor (the state level) represents and rules the community

Buryats face 3 options: o o o assimilation into Russian/European culture quietly die out in the villages create a new society based on passed values and present demands