Korandei F.S. Rural wastelands: Places of belonging and “ghosts” cartography of the rural depopulation landscape // The Russian Peasant Studies. 2023. V.8. №1. P. 23-44.
The interpretation of the walking interviews, which were conducted in the rural Iset Region in the summer of 2022, allowed the author to identify “places of belonging” (Yi-Fu Tuan’s term) in the rural depopulation landscape, which are hardly noticeable to any external observer but are extremely important for local residents. The author uses the post-phenomenological optics of social sciences, which defines the cultural everyday landscape as a single process of mutual transformation that generates both personal experience and forms of sociality. The second theoretical basis of the article is the cultural geography works on the connections between everyday landscape and human memory, in particular the “ghosts geography”, and the thin line between the present and the absent in both everyday landscapes and narratives about them. The author’s method is walking interviews with local residents in open areas. The article aims at showing the possibilities of the simultaneous transcription and subsequent mapping of the walking interviews’ archives. The cases considered in the main part of the article focus on the structuring role of “places of belonging” in the standard narrative. As walking interviews show, it is the presentation of local places to a newcomer as important for the daily life of local people but hardly noticeable to outsiders that forms the basis of the typical go-along narratives. Thus, places out of active everyday use but with great emotional and vital significance for local communities acquire the status of “ghosts” — fragments of the past involved in the today’s life of the depopulating rural settlement.
“Places of belonging’, walking interviews, place, rural depopulation, everyday cultural landscape, “ghosts” geography, cultural geography, social anthropology.
About the author
Fedor S. Korandei, PhD (History), Senior Researcher, Laboratory of Historical Geography and Regional Studies, Tyumen State University. Volodarskogo St., 6, Tyumen, 625003.