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Developing Indigenous research methodologies in the arctic (IRM-A): examining the impacts of settlement on socialization and youth experience in Siberia and Alaska

Developing Indigenous research methodologies in the arctic (IRM-A): examining the impacts of settlement on socialization and youth experience in Siberia and Alaska

Dr Olga Ulturgasheva, Principal Investigator for Cambridge award (£81,233)

This international, collaborative, comparative ethnographic inquiry funded by Early-Concept Grant for Exploratory Research scheme (National Science Foundation, USA) aims to explore the ways indigenous research methodologies can be effectively utilized in the study of youth with special focus on local impacts of settlement on socialization practices and experiences of growing up in two arctic Indigenous communities: one in Siberia and one in Alaska.

The design and methods of the study arise directly from community requests and contemporary circumpolar social exigencies to come up with more effective and culturally responsive ways of working with Indigenous youth in arctic contexts. The involvement of two native Alaskan and Siberian social scientists are crucial for introduction of an innovative method of anthropological peer observation in each community to document and address the complexities of conducting Native research as a Native person. The process of peer observation will enable the intersection of meaning systems through the cultural encounter of Indigenous observer bringing to bear on the research process the following conditions: local expertise, empathy, a native-point-of-view of the contemporary socio-economic and global environmental context as well as a non-native’s perception of local specificities.

This participatory study explores the key characteristics of Indigenous research methodologies and how they can be applied in the study of indigenous arctic youth. They also address such questions as: How can anthropological peer observation method impact critically upon important social issues in the communities? What are the benefits and challenges of utilizing such approach to research, and how can this be applied across cultural and academic contexts? This study aims to impact both international indigenous and scientific communities by providing critical information on research process, methods and outcomes from diverse perspectives.

Duration: 2012-2014.

Winter landscape