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  • Author or Editor: Csaba Mészáros x
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Abstract

The study of kinship has occupied a central role in anthropological scholarships for more than a hundred years. In the 1970s, after the deconstruction of kinship as the inherent logic of social structure, studies on kinship faced a number of new epistemological issues. Based on experiences gained during subsequent fieldworks in Yakutia, the author tackles a few of them in this article. Due to the legacy of Soviet-type ethnography in Yakutia, people even in the remotest villages usually have a firm idea of what anthropological fieldwork is about. Reflecting on his fieldwork strategies in Yakutia while studying local kin relations, the author argues that anthropologists should not neglect to consider the expectations local communities have of the goals and means of the fieldwork. In the case of kinship research in Yakutia, local communities are interested in reconstructing the vertical aspects of kin relations instead of unfolding horizontal relations for the anthropologist.

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The article demonstrates that similar actions and lifestyles of two individuals living in two villages of Yakutia (in Northeastern Siberia) evoke different attitudes in their own communities in accordance with the dissimilar social structures and communicative systems of the villages. The article focuses on the different ways the register of humour is activated and on the dissimilar assessments of extraordinary patterns of behaviour resulting in social embarrassment within the two communities. The case studies show that one of the protagonists of the paper, Konoohoi, is referred to as a funny guy about whom funny stories are circulated, whereas Lögöntöi is much more regarded as a strange person by his fellow villagers. The difference between the integrity of the communities (providing evaluative social talks of different characters in the settlements concerned) results in two different ways of dealing with the social embarrassment caused by extraordinary behaviours. In one of the villages the funny but disparaging anecdotes about such behaviour are embedded in the system of kin-group characterisation, whereas in the other one it would be regarded as more offensive (as a personal attack), since in this setting it is generally not allowed to expose shortcomings in public.

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The author focuses on the changing perception and use of alaases (round shaped meadows in thermocarst depressions) in a Central-Yakutian village community under the effect of global climate change. Households of the local cattle-economy before the collectivisation used to be located at alaases and had used small and disperse hayfields. Subsequent economic reforms in the Soviet era, and the process of decollectivisation (in the 1990s) distanced villagers from alaases. Therefore knowledge on alaas ecotope in the village has radically diminished.

In the 21st century environmental changes have had negative effect on the local agriculture and economy. Increase in annual precipitation, and in mean annual temperature resulted in the rapid humidification of permafrost soil, and the degradation of hayfields. Three factors expose today agricultural production in the village to ongoing climatic changes: low level of selfdependency in agricultural production, undiversified production of unprocessed raw material, and the vanishing concepts of local spiritual ecology. The author argues that anthropological research can effectively contribute to the mitigation of losses in Sakha cattle economy by studying traditional methods of land use and the perception of environment.

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Book Reviews

(1)Douglass C. North: Understanding the Process of Economic Change (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2005, 187 pp. - Reviewed by Judit Kapás), (2) Vladimir Mau: From Crisis to Growth (London: Centre for Research into Post-Communist Economies, New series, No. 21, 2005, 305 pp. - Reviewed by László Csaba), (3) Imre Ferto: Agri-food Trade between Hungary and the EU (Budapest: Századvég, 2004, 257 pp. - Reviewed by Sándor Mészáros)

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A különböző N-formák mozgását és transzformációját a talaj–növény–légkör rendszerben egymással összefüggő ciklusok határozzák meg. Az olyan mesterséges beavatkozások, mint például a műtrágyák és szerves trágyák intenzív felhasználása, döntő mértékben befolyásolják a N-körforgalmat, jelentősen terhelve ezzel a ciklusok érzékeny egyensúlyát. Annak érdekében, hogy a problémákat kezelni tudjuk, a N-ciklus talajban lejátszódó folyamatainak jobb megértése, a különböző folyamatok súlyának és érzékenységének megismerése szükséges, alapot teremtve ezzel egy racionálisabb és környezetkímélőbb trágyázási és tápanyag-utánpótlási gyakorlatnak. A N-ciklus matematikai modellezése kiváló lehetőséget nyújt az egyes részfolyamatok alaposabb felderítésére. A munka során egy korábban elvégzett kísérlet adatait használtuk fel. Az inkubációs talajoszlop kísérletet a Szent István Egyetem Kémia és Biokémia Tanszékén végezték 2000-ben. A felhasznált kísérlet mérési adataira nemlineáris regresszióval illesztettünk különböző rendű kémiai kinetikai egyenleteket az Origin 4.1-es adatelemző és grafikai szoftverrel. A munka eredményeként megállapítható, hogy a részfolyamatok modellezésekor a legtöbb esetben az elsőrendű kémiai kinetikai egyenlet eredményezte a legjobb matematikai közelítést.

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Abstract

The history of the Hungarian-Slovenian border region is to be understood as socio-natural history: two co-evolving entities, society and nature have always been entangled in a web of connections and reciprocal influences. It is particularly true in this border area, where ecological diversity is the result of a century-long cultivation and correlating local lifestyles and economic strategies depend heavily on the ecological and climatic conditions of the region. In view of this interdependence, we aim to provide an in-depth analysis of both human and non-human agents in a region where ethnic, national, and state relations create a thickly interwoven fabric of human network with a background of a fairly uniform and intensively cultivated environment. By doing so, we would like to challenge the idea of Anthropocene as an overarching model and bring local images to the forefront. We argue that instead of Anthropocene, members of the local communities in this border region have entered an era in which they face difficulties acting as independent agents in their environment, since they have to rely on the mediation of state-funded institutions, such as the National/Regional Parks.

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