‘Blood’ Kinship and Kinship in Christ’s Blood: Nomadic Evangelism in the Nenets Tundra

Abstract

The article addresses a conflicting encounter of two ideologies of kinship, ‘natural’ and ‘religious’, among the newly established Evangelical communities of Nenets in the Polar Ural and Yamal tundra. An ideology of Christian kinship, as an outcome of ‘spiritual re-birth’, was introduced through Nenets religious conversion. The article argues that although the born-again experience often turned against ancestral traditions and Nenets traditional kinship ties, the Nenets kinship system became a platform upon which the conversion mechanism was furthered and determined in the Nenets tundra.The article examines missionary initiatives and Nenets religiosity as kin-based activities, the outcome of which was twofold. On one side, it was the realignment of Nenets traditional kinship networks. On other side, it was the indigenisation of the Christian concept of kinship according to native internal cultural logic. Evangelical communities in the tundra were plunged into the traditional practices of Nenets kinship networks, economic exchanges, and marriage alliances. Through negotiation of traditional Nenets kinship and Christian kinship, converted Nenets developed new imaginaries, new forms of exchanges, and even new forms of mobility.

Author Biography

Tatiana Vagramenko, University College Cork, Centre of Arctic and Siberian Exploration, Institute for Sociology, Russian Academy of Sciences
Dr. Tatiana Vagramenko is a social anthropologist working at the intersection of anthropology of Christianity and Arctic studies. Her research to date has examined the phenomenon of post-Soviet Evangelical movements in the Russian Arctic, and religious conversion among the Nenets indigenous people.T. Vagramenko received her PhD in 2014 from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. Currently, she is an affiliated researcher at the Marginalised and Endangered Worldview Study Centre, University College Cork (Ireland). She is also an affiliated research fellow at the Centre of Arctic and Siberian Exploration, Institute for Sociology, Russian Academy of Sciences (St. Petersburg, Russia).
Published
2017-06-22
How to Cite
VAGRAMENKO, Tatiana. ‘Blood’ Kinship and Kinship in Christ’s Blood: Nomadic Evangelism in the Nenets Tundra. Journal of Ethnology and Folkloristics, [S.l.], v. 11, n. 1, p. 151-169, june 2017. ISSN 2228-0987. Available at: <https://jef.ee/index.php/journal/article/view/261>. Date accessed: 19 sep. 2021. doi: https://doi.org/10.1515/jef-2017-0009.

Keywords

kinship; blood; Nenets indigenous people; Evangelical Christianity; missionary movement; Russian Arctic