PERFORMING ETHNICITY, CELEBRATING MULTICULTURALISM. THE ETHNO-CULTURAL FESTIVAL YORD GAMES IN THE CONFLICT BETWEEN “INDIGENOUS BURYAT TRADITIONS” AND “EURASIAN UNITY”

Abstrakt

In the paper authors analyze conflicted actions focused on revival of Buryat ethnic minority culture and state unification policy on the local level, in the Siberian part of the Russian Federation. Using the example of the fifteen-year history of a Siberian ethno-cultural festival authors show how manipulation of categories of “traditional culture”, “autochthonic peoples” and “multiculturalism” can serve for taking the symbolic control over part of state territory and how the minority group performs its ethnicity in the frames imposed by the majority group. In the successes and defeats of the festival’s organizers one can reconstruct the process of neutralization of Buryat culture in favour of multiethnic unity. Detailed analysis of the way of using ethnographic and historical sources and processes of negotiating the right to be the host and the guests of the festival is presented in the paper. The festival constitutes the platform for performance of ethnic and religious identities. These performances build multilevel meanings of the festival – from the tourist attraction through celebrating the unity of Eurasia peoples to the shamanistic rite of the fundamental importance for local community.

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