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technical paper

AAA Annual Meeting 2021

November 18, 2021

Baltimore, United States

Rumoring Radiation in North-East of Russia

keywords:

activism

environment

indigenous

This paper addresses the subject of rumors and other collectively produced and shared stories that have a potential to open up a specific productive space for alternative forms of experiencing and narrating reality. When people circulate specific (highly contextualized) rumors, they mediate their personal and communal anxieties and uncertainties over occurred ambiguous situations. The residents of a rural village of Dugani in Sakha Republic, the north-eastern region of the Russian Federation • found themselves in particular contingent circumstances, which prompted rapid generation and transmission of pervasive rumors on potentiality of radioactive threat of the Direge rare metals deposit site and its damaging effects on the local environment as well as health of the village residents. This paper demonstrates how localized rumors and similar extraordinary stories exemplify the uneven power relations between the local community, the extractive company, and the state; through the production and reproduction of certain rumors, the village residents express their fears and anxieties over changing environmental conditions (pollution and radiation), concerns over health, navigating their precarious and marginalized positions within the extensive discourses on economic development, extractive profits, and government interests.

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