Studies of mindset of Tuvans and the subjectivity trend in academic knowledge

Novye Issledovaniâ Tuvy. 2017;0(3) DOI 10.25178/nit.2017.3.2


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Journal Title: Novye Issledovaniâ Tuvy

ISSN: 2079-8482 (Online)

Publisher: Novye Issledovaniâ Tuvy

LCC Subject Category: Social Sciences: Communities. Classes. Races

Country of publisher: Russian Federation

Language of fulltext: Russian

Full-text formats available: PDF



Chimiza K. Lamazhaa (Московский гуманитарный университет)


Double blind peer review

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Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 18 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

The article presents a historiographic review of studies of mindset (understood as an array of beliefs, directives, views and tempers) of Tuvans since late 19th century to present day. We single out three groups of studies and analyze them in terms of: social conditions, evolution of science, and subjectivity of researchers. The first group comprises the works written by foreign researchers in late 19th – early 20th centuries. They had been studying Tuvans during the Russian settlement in Uriankhai region. Ethnographers and geographers had been defining the ethnic mindset of terms of “temper” and “moral everyday life” which were believed to be endemic to ethnos and could be revealed by external observation and interpretation. The article quotes D. Carruthers and refers to his controversy with G.G. Grumm-Grzhimaylo regarding the temper of Uriankhs (Tuvans). Also cited are the observations made by D.A. Klements, E.K. Yakovlev, A.V. Adrianov and A.M. Afrikanov. All of these works contain a significant number of inaccurate and superficial ideas of Tuvan mores. The second group includes works by Soviet ethnographers of mid- and the latter half of 20th century (S.I. Vainshtein, L.P. Potapov, E.D. Prokofieva, N.A. Serdobov, etc.). Written under political commission of the Soviet government, they treated specific details of Tuvan life as merely a form of culture. Their ethnographic works on traditional way of living in Tuva still preserve their value, but for these authors the ethnic mindset never was an objective in itself, and is only mentioned in passim. Finally, the third group brings together contemporary studies that have appeared since 1990s. This time, the social commission comes from the regional authorities and is linked with the process of national revival, which determined the scholar’ interest in studying the culture of a dominant ethnic group. The mindset of Tuvans, as well as the entire Tuvan culture, is recognized as valuable per se, and as such becomes the focus of many studies. The main bulk of studies of Tuvan mindset and immaterial culture is done by the ethnic Tuvan scholars (A.K. Kuzhuget, V.Yu. Suzukey, M.V. Mongush, O.M. Khomushku, M.B. Kenin-Lopsan, etc.). In their works, Tuvan mindset appears as both an object of study and a complex historical phenomenon, in full diversity of its many aspects, including what was lost in the 20th century. Native speakers of Tuvan also analyzed the cultural concepts which reflect the features of mindset. An increasing number of tuvinologists who are ethnic Tuvans helps intensify the trend towards subjectivity in academic knowledge. A good example can be found, e.g., in applying Indigenous methodology to the studies of Tuvan culture and mindset of Tuvans.