Kin-based social networks are the main focus of this study of a hunter-herder community in the northwest of the Republic of Sakha, Russian Federation. Aimar Ventsel gives a clear account of the formal organisational changes which have taken place since the demise of socialism and shows how informal relations help local people to cope with increased insecurity, both inside and outside formal structures. Documenting the strategies used to extend kinship, the author draws attention to their relevance for understanding the new system of property relations. While certain features are the products of a specific history and the local environment, the work will appeal to all scholars of Siberia and of postsocialist societies. It also contributes to the wider field of herder-hunter studies by showing how this combination of roles could persist throughout the Soviet era down to the present day.
Aimar Ventsel was a founding member of the Siberia Project Group at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle. He received his PhD in 2005 from the Martin Luther University, Halle- Wittenberg. Since 2004 he has been employed as a senior researcher at the Estonian Museum of Literature in Tartu, Estonia, where he is continuing to specialise in the anthropology of contemporary Siberia.