Accepted paper:

Labor Migrants from Dagestan in the Disrict of Surgut: Domesticating New Space in the City of Migrants

Authors:

Ekaterina Kapustina (Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera)/European University at St.Petersburg)

Paper short abstract:

The paper deals with the specific features of conquering urban space (physical, social and symbolical) by Dagestani labor migrants in the towns of Western Siberia. It will discuss how space is divided between them and other residents and where the demarcation line of conflict is being drawn.

Paper long abstract:

Oil and gas areas of Western Siberia, especially Khanty-Mansisk region, attract many migrants by quite a great number of well-paid jobs. Among these migrants there is a substantial percentage of immigrants from Dagestan which has increased during last decade. But population of such cities as Surgut is also represented by recent migrants, looking for high "northern" wages, first of whom have arrived there just 40 years ago. As a result - today's migrants come to a town populated with yesterday's ones. Traditional confrontation between old residents and newcomers, common for many Russian cities, is complicated with the fact that the niche of old residents is actually vacant. The role of symbolical master of this territory is assigned to Khants, small Siberian ethnic group, whose percentage in the towns is tiny. This situation enables new migrants to compete for urban space with earlier dwellers on more favorable terms. The paper deals with the specific features of conquering urban space - physical, social and symbolical - by Dagestani migrants. It is also interesting how the space is being divided between them and other residents, mainly Russians, and where the demarcation line of conflict is being drawn. Domestication of urban space can be realized by the official organizations - Diaspora association "zemliachestvo", municipal administration, and mosque. But sometimes it may happen informally: for example urban space may be symbolically marked through practice of dancing traditional Caucasian dances on Surgut streets by young Dagestani men, even under the threat of being attacked by the police and Russian nationalists.

panel W016
Space, place and religious rituals in the context of migration (EN, FR)