Animistic metamorphosis amidst a disrupted ecology
Paper short abstract:
Indigenous responses to climate and environmental change within the Bering Strait Region
Paper long abstract:
Climate change does not only challenge the Western world, but also the so-called "non-modern" societies that tend to conceive relations between nature and culture in terms of continuity rather than rupture. However, for many of these societies living in the extreme environments of the Bering Strait Region, climate change and massive extraction projects are disrupting the system of relations to such an extent that established beliefs and values are shaking. In order to deal with environmental transformations, these societies are forced to rethink their relations with non-human entities - divinities, ancestors, plants, animals and atmospheric phenomena. While doing so, they question our own way of relating to these environments, and allow us to finally move away from our pre established categorizations, toward a new form of understanding. This paper builds on ethnographic fieldwork among the Gwich'in of Alaska and the Even of Kamchatka. The aim is to show how hunter-gatherers societies on both side of the Bering Strait are answering to the global eco-human crisis with an animistic style, drawing its power from the ongoing state of instability and uncertainties at play in subarctic environments nowadays.
Dwelling in an evanescent landscape: people's strategies to deal with chronical uncertainty