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Re-enacting “Cossack roots:” embodiment of memory, history, and tradition among young people in southern Russia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 November 2018

Anton Popov*
School of Languages and Social Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham, UK. Email:


This article draws upon ethnographic research which was conducted among young Cossacks (members of officially registered and informal Cossack clubs) in southern Russia. It presents young people's participation in the Cossack “nativism” as a physical and material mode of socialization into the mnemonic community. The research puts forward an argument that such corporal and sensorial experiences is effective in recruiting some young members to the Cossack movement. At the same time, the performative character of neo-Cossack identity destabilizes contemporary Cossacks' claims of authenticity related to the status of the legitimate heirs of historical Cossackdom. At the more general level of discussion this paper juxtaposes bodily activities, social memory, and revivalist discourses.

Copyright © 2017 Association for the Study of Nationalities 

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