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The Gumilev MystiqueBiopolitics, Eurasianism, and the Construction of Community in Modern Russia$
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Mark Bassin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780801445941

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801445941.001.0001

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Biopolitics and the Ubiquity of Ethnicity

Biopolitics and the Ubiquity of Ethnicity

(p.244) 9 Biopolitics and the Ubiquity of Ethnicity
The Gumilev Mystique

Mark Bassin

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines Gumilev's influence on new biopolitical preoccupations with the factor of ethnicity. One indication of the influence of Gumilevian perspectives on the nature of ethnicity is the new interest in the existential dynamics between ethnos and territory, and the emplacement of ethnies in particular geographical regions. While the notion of a link between ethnicity and territory was not exclusive to Gumilev, the discussion of the topic in post-Soviet ethnological textbooks is often framed in Gumilev's terms and concepts. Thus, the homeland of a given ethnic group is described as its “containing” (vmeshchaiushii) or “nurturing landscape,” its “ecological niche,” or even its native mestorazvitie. The functional significance of this relationship, moreover, is described in Gumilevian terms as a matter of ethnogenetic adaptation to the influence of external environmental conditions.

Keywords:   ethnicity, Lev Nikolaevich Gumilev, ethnic resistance, ethnos, territory

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