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Florian Stammler PhD, Research Professor in Arctic Anthropology

Florian Stammler PhD, Research Professor in Arctic Anthropology

Institute Associate

Social Anthropologist, specialist in Arctic Anthropology, particularly the Russian Far North. Interests lie in Arctic oral history, theories of human-animal relations, anthropology of place and belonging, extractive industries and native populations, nomadism and other forms of mobility, indigenous knowledge, indigenous movements, northern industrialisation, centre-periphery relations.

Current post: Research Professor in Arctic Anthropology, coordinator of the Anthropology Research team, at the Arctic Centre, University of Lapland



  • 2011-2015: project leader, ORHELIA Oral Histories of Empires by Elders in the Arctic, Finnish Academy
  • 2006-2010: principal investigator, BOREAS MOVE INNOCOM project on Mobility, locality and belonging in Russia's northern industrial cities.
  • 2006 to present: Institute Associate, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge.
  • 2005-2013: Senior researcher, Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, Anthropology Research Team
  • 2004 to 2007: Research advisor for the interdisciplinary project ENSINOR, environmental and social impacts of industrial development in the Russian North
  • 2003 to 2005: Research Associate at Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge
  • 2000-2003: PhD candidate at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, Germany. Thesis title: "When Nomads Meet the Market: Property, Territoriality and Economy Among Reindeer Herders of Yamal, West Siberia". Supervisor: Chris Hann
  • 2000: M.A. in Social Anthropology, University of Cologne. Thesis title: "Überlebensstrategien im Postsozialistschen Rußland: Das Beispiel der Rentierzüchtenden Khanty und Nenzen in Nordwestsibirien" (Strategies of Survival in Post-socialist Russia: An Example of Reindeer Herding, Khanty and Nentsy of Northwest Siberia)(in German). Supervisor: Michael Casimir.
  • 1999: Research Assistant in the Focal Program of the German Research Foundation (DFG) called "Ecological Ethics and Agriculture in Change". Project supervisor: Aparna Rao
  • 1994-2000: Studies in Anthropology, Sociology and History at the Universities of Mainz (Germany), Zurich (Switzerland), and Cologne (Germany)


Member of the Polar Social Science and Humanities Group.

Research interests are in the anthropology of nomadic societies with a special focus on reindeer herders, and on the consequences of northern industrialisation. The current research project ORHELIA undertakes a comparative analysis of Arctic coastal dwellers' relations to their authorities. We investigate how decisions that were made in far-away capitals are perceived and affect the countries' remotest inhabitants. We do so through extensive life history interviews and participant observation, and trace how such historical memory is passed on to younger generations. Our main case sites there are northern Finland, the Kola Area, the European and Yamal-Nenets okrugs, and the Lena River Delta. Past research projects have focused on the study of reindeer herding, fishing and hunting peoples of Siberia, looking at their adaptations to social, economic, political and ecological change. A monograph Reindeer Nomads meet the Market about the reindeer herders of Yamal (West Siberia) gives a detailed analysis of the people herding the world's biggest herds of domestic reindeer on pastures covering the world's biggest natural gas reserves. Current research interests also include the non-indigenous industrial population in the Russian North, investigating the dimensions of northern identity and attachment to place among urban Siberian city-dwellers. Particular attention is paid to the anthropology of place and belonging among relocated people in Siberia and elsewhere in the Arctic.

All the research aims to capture in one way or another the dynamics of arctic societies from the points of view of local people. The interaction between the nomadic and sedentary parts of the population is a topic of great interest. The relations between reindeer herders and fishermen, oil-and gas workers, administrators and traders tell us about the nomads' adaptability to the changing conditions of their surroundings, as well as about the influence of the north on incomer-identities. The published special volume of the journal Sibirica (5.2, 2006), edited jointly with Institute Associate Dr Emma Wilson, is the first comparative analyses of the complex relations between indigenous communities and the extractive industry in northern Russia. The 'Ilebts declaration of coexistence' that was drafted by Dr Stammler jointly with Prof Bruce Forbes and research partners from reindeer herding, gas industry and authorities provides 'down to earth' guidelines of how indigenous nomads and industrial workers can live together on better terms in times of intensive industrial development of the Arctic. This came out of a research project of Forbes and Stammler at the Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, funded by the Finnish Academy.

The most recent updates of all the research of Prof Stammler and his team can be found at the group's own blog "arcticanthropology"

More information on research projects available online at:

Nomadic reindeer herders

Running into an uncertain future: Lev Serotetto and the nomadic reindeer herders of Siberia.


Fieldwork forms the most important part of the research work of an anthropologist who tries to participate in the lives of the population he studies, while at the same time observing them from an academic point of view. Due to the focus of our research on the interaction between reindeer nomads and their surroundings, extended fieldwork continues yearly in various regions of Northern Russia. Important for a better understanding of the local social dynamics is switching the lines, which means working and migrating with the reindeer herders, living with administrators in villages, with gas workers on drilling stations, with traders in towns, and also talking to regional politicians about their views and initiatives to make arctic economies more stable. Another important aspect of this partnership with the population of the region is not only to engage in extracting information, but to engage in an exchange with them, and to reach an optimal level of transparency of the current research. Engagements can be made with the local media (TV, radio, newspaper) to explain this research, as well as sharing other information and videotapes with local people who are interested. More recently interested stakeholders in Russia have also afforded to come to visit us to learn more about our research results and the ways in which interdisciplinary complex research is carried out.


Fieldwork among reindeer nomads in winter: cold temperatures and warm friendships. Photo: Matt Dyas / BBC

Fieldwork carried out in:

  • 1998 Khanty-Mansiisk Autonomous Okrug
  • 2000-2001, 02, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 10, 11, 12, 13 Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug
  • 2003, 04, 05, 06, 07 Nenets Autonomous Okrug
  • 2006, 08, 10, 11, 12, 13 Murmansk Oblast
  • 2005, 06, 08, 10, 11, 12, 13 Republic of Sakha/Yakutia
  • 2007, 14 Kamtchatka
  • 2008, Greenland (2 week research trip for developing teaching module)
  • 2011, Finnish Lapland (Skolt Sami areas of Sevettijärvi and Nellim, exploratory trips and setting up project work, and several other trips between 2005-11 while being based in Rovaniemi)


Selected publications:

  • Stammler, Florian 2013. Narratives of Adaptation and Innovation: Ways of Being Mobile and Mobile Technologies among Reindeer Nomads in the Russian Arctic. Chapter 11 in Miggelbrink, J., Habeck, J.O., Mazzullo, N. and Koch, P. (eds) Nomadic and Indigenous Spaces: Productions and Cognitions. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, pp. 221-245.
  • Stammler, Florian 2012. Earmarks, Furmarks and the Community: Multiple Reindeer Property Among West Siberian Pastoralists. Chapter 3 in Khazanov A.M and Schlee, G. (eds.) Who Owns the Stock? Collective and Multiple Property Rights in Animals. New York, Oxford: Berghahn Books, pp. 65-98
  • Ziker, John, & Florian Stammler (eds) 2011. Histories from the North: Environments, Movements, and Narratives. Proceedings of the Boreas Final conference, Rovaniemi. Boise/Rovaniemi: Boise State University/University of Lapland. (not peer reviewed)
  • Stammler, Florian 2011. Oil without conflict? The anthropology of industrialisation in Northern Russia. Chapter 10 in Andrea Behrends, Stephen P. Reyna, and Günther Schlee (eds) Crude domination: An anthropology of oil. Oxford: Berghahn Books. pp. 243-269.
  • Behnke, Roy H.; Maria E. Fernandez-Gimenez; Matthew D. Turner & Florian Stammler 2011. Pastoral migration: mobile systems of livestock husbandry. chapter 10 in Animal Migration. A synthesis, ed by E.J. Milner-Gulland, John M. Fryxell & Anthony R.E. Sinclair. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 144-171.
  • Stammler, Florian & Elena Khlinovskaya 2011. Einmal "Erde" und zurück: Bevölkerungsbewegung in Russlands Norden [Round-Trip ticket, "Earth" and Back: Population Movement in Russia's Far North]. In: Osteuropa 2-3/2011, Logbuch Arktis. Der Raum, die Interessen und das Recht, ed by Manfred Sapper/Volker Weichsel/Christoph Humrich, 347-370.
  • Stammler, Florian & Hiroki Takakura (eds) 2010. Good to Eat, Good to Live with: Nomads and Animals in Northern Eurasia and Africa. Northeast Asia Studies Series 11. Center for Northeast Asia Studies, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan.
  • Stammler, Florian & Gertrude Eilmsteiner-Saxinger (eds) 2010. Biography, Shift-labour and Socialisation in a Northern Industrial City / Биография, вахтовый труд и социализация в северном индустриальном городе. Tyumen State University & Arctic Centre Rovaniemi: online edited volume ( not peer reviewed)
    therein: "
    «Город стал родиной для жителей, но умирать здесь никто не собирается»: Антропологические размышления о человеческих сообществах в северном городе", 33-41
  • Stammler, F. 2009. "Mobile phone revolution in the tundra? Technological change among Russian reindeer nomads", in Generation P in the Tundra, ed by Aimar Ventsel, Folklore 41 Talinn: Estonian Literary Museum, pp 47-78.
  • Stammler, F. 2009. Кочевой образ жизни оленеводов прибрежной зоны Западной Сибири (Ямал): возможности и ограничения в свете недавних перемен. Экологическое планирование и управление. Выпуск 8-9 (3-4). Спец выпуск по МПГ под редакции И.Крупника и Д. Дроздова. Москва. [Nomadic livelihood of reindeer herders of West Siberian Coast: possibilities and limits in the light of recent changes. Ecological planning and management, vol 8-9 (3-4), pp 78-91. Special issue on IPY, edited by I. Krupnik and A. Drozdov, in Russian]
  • Forbes, Bruce & Stammler, F. 2009. Arctic climate change discourse: the contrasting politics of research agendas in the West and Russia. Polar Research vol. 28, Climate change vulnerability and adaptation in the Arctic, pp. 28-42
  • W. G. Rees & F. M. Stammler & F. S. Danks & P. Vitebsky 2008. Vulnerability of European reindeer husbandry to global change. Climatic Change, vol 87: 199-217
  • Stammler, Florian & Vladislav Peskov 2008. Building a 'Culture of dialogue' among stakeholders in North-West Russian oil extraction. Europe-Asia Studies, vol 60, No 5, July 2008, 831-849.
  • Florian Stammler and Hugh Beach (eds.) People and Reindeer on the Move. Special Issue of the journal Nomadic Peoples, No. 10,2 2006. Oxford: Berghahn.
    Therein: Beach Hugh, and Florian Stammler 2006. Human-Animal relations in pastoralism. pp. 5-29.
  • Stammler, Florian & Emma Wilson 2006. "Dialogue for development: an exploration of relations between oil and gas companies, communities and the state" in: Special issue on the oil and gas industry local communities and the state, edited by Emma Wilson and Florian Stammler. Sibirica vol 5 issue 2, 2006, Oxford / New York: Berghahn, pp. 1-42.
  • Stammler, Florian 2005. "The Obshchina Movement in Yamal: Defending Territories to Build Identities?" in Rebuilding Identities: Pathways to Reform in Postsoviet Siberia vol 3, Siberian Studies. Edited by E. Kasten, pp. 109-134. Berlin: Reimer.
  • Stammler, Florian, 2005: Reindeer Nomads Meet the Market: Culture, Property and Globalisation at the End of the Land. Muenster: Litverlag (Halle Studies in the Anthropology of Eurasia) vol. 6, 320 pp, ISBN 3-8258-8046-x. [Book flyer]
  • Stammler, Florian and Aimar Ventsel 2003. Between Neoliberalism and Dirigisme: Approaches to Reindeer Herding in Yamal and Sakha, in: The Postsocialist Agrarian Question: Property Relations and the Rural Condition, ed. by Chris Hann and the "Property Relations" Group. Litverlag, Münster, pp. 321-362. (Halle Studies in the Anthropology of Eurasia, vol. 1).
  • Stammler, Florian 2002. Success at the Edge of the Land: Present and Past Challenges for Reindeer Herders of the West-Siberian Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, in: Nomadic Peoples (NS) Vol. 6,2, pp. 51-71.
  • Gray, Patty and Florian Stammler 2002. Siberia Caught Between Collapse and Continuity, in: Max Planck Research vol. 2, 2002, pp. 54-61. (available online in English and in German)

External activities