Object structure


Kinship, Ethnicity and Landscape: The Contexts of Ethnic Boundaries in Southern Siberia, Mongolia and Inner Mongolia


Ethnologia Polona 36 2015 (2016)


Smyrski, Łukasz


Sikora, Stefan - Tł.


Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of Polish Academy of Sciences

Place of publishing:


Date issued/created:



24 cm

Subject and Keywords:

identity ; ethnicity ; ethnic boundaries ; landscape ; Southern Siberia ; Mongolia


The purpose of this paper is to draw attention to the processual nature of the formation of ethnic boundaries. In reference to Fredrik Barth’s concept of the social organization of difference, the author examines three case studies (southern Siberia, Mongolia and Inner Mongolia – China) and shows how ethnic boundaries are interacting and being reshaped within such diverse fields as: nationalism, identity, kinship, space and landscape. The example of southern Siberia shows how the collapse of the Soviet Union has resulted in “closing” the ancestral affiliations of Altaians, Tuvinians and Khakass within the administrative boundaries of the autonomous republics. In Mongolia, differences within one national group are constructed politically, ideologically and discursively as a result of political transformations. In Inner Mongolia, social differences at the ethnic level can be understood as consequences of diverse perceptions on the landscape and “separated” participation in space by the Mongols and Han Chinese


Anderson B., 1983, Imagined Communities. Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. Lon-don–New York ; Badral S., 1994, Chalch, Chalchaj buju gal golom. Il Towczoo 30 ; Bayasgalang S., 1991, Mongol Golomt – Chalch Töwijn Üzel, Mongolijn Duu Chooloj 8 ; Banks M., 1996, Ethnicity: Anthropological Constructions. London ; Barth F., 1969, Introduction. In F. Barth (ed.), Ethnic Groups and Boundaries. The Social Organization of Culture Difference. Bergen–Oslo–London, 9–38 ; Bulag U., 1998, Nationalism and Hybridity in Mongolia. Oxford ; Fenton S., 2003, Ethnicity. Cambridge ; Gongor D., 1970, Chalch Towczoon I. Chalch Mongolczuudijn Öwög Deedes ba Chalchijn Chaant Uls (VII–XVII zuun). Ulaanbaatar ; Halemba A., 1996, Kto jest Ałtajczykiem? O tożsamości narodowej rdzennych mieszkańców Republiki Ałtaj. Etnografia Polska 40 (1–2), 277–306 ; Hobsbawm E. 1983. Introduction: Inventing Traditions. In E. Hobsbawm and T. Ranger (eds.), The Invention of Tradition. Cambridge, 1–14 ; Humphrey C. 2001. Contested Landscapes in Inner Mongolia: Walls and Cairns. In B. Bender and M. Winer (eds.), Contested Landscapes. Movement, Exile and Place. Oxford–New York, 55–68 ; Kałużyński S. 1986. Tradycje i legendy ludów tureckich. Warszawa ; Lattimore O. 1940. Inner Asian Frontiers of China. New York ; Leach E. 1954. Political Systems of Highland Burma: A Study of Kachin Social Structure. Cambridge ; Levin M. G. and Potapov A. P. (eds) 1956. Narody Sibiri. Moskva–Leningrad ; Lipiński W. 2011. Ludzie tundry. Tożsamość i granice etniczne na północy Syberii. Warszawa ; L’vova E. L., Oktyabrskaya I. W., Sagalayew A. M., Usmanova M. S. (eds.) 1989. Triaditsionnoye mirovozzreniye tiurkov yuzhnoy Sibiri. Chelovek. Obshchestvo. Novosibirsk ; Łabęcka-Koecherowa M. 1998. Mitologia ludów tureckich. Warszawa ; Nowicka E. (ed.) 2000. Wielka Syberia małych narodów. Kraków ; Nowicka E. and Wyszyński R. (eds.) 1996. Lamowie i sekretarze. Warszawa ; Sagalayev A. M. 1992. Altai v zerkale mifa. Novosibirsk ; Smyrski Ł. 2008. Ajdyn znaczy księżyc. Narody południowej Syberii. Warszawa ; Tajna historia... 1970. Tajna historia Mongołów. Anonimowa kronika mongolska z XIII w. Translation from Mongolian, introduction and comments by S. Kałużyński. Warszawa ; Tishkov V. A. 1994. Natsional’nosti i natsionalizm v postsovetskom prostranstviye. In V. A. Tishkov (ed.), Etnichnost’ i vlast’ v polietnichnykh gosudarstvakh. Moskva, 9–34


Ethnologia Polona



Start page:


End page:


Resource type:


Detailed Resource Type:




Resource Identifier:



IAiE PAN, call no. P 366 ; IAiE PAN, call no. P 367 ; IAiE PAN, call no. P 368 ; click here to follow the link




Rights Reserved - Free Access

Terms of use:

Copyright-protected material. May be used within the limits of statutory user freedoms

Digitizing institution:

Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences

Original in:

Library of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences



Citation style: