Our past and present beliefs on the History of the Sea Nomads of Tierra del Fuego. Concepts from the 17th to the 21th centuries
Ernesto Piana (CADIC, CONICET, Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego)
Between the 18th and the first half of the 20th centuries three main concepts dominated the picture on the Magellan-Fuegian sea nomads: they were primitive, cornered in Tierra del Fuego, and had recently settled the region These conclusions rooted on historical and ethnographical information and repeatedly concluded in tautological and unverifiable presentations. By the late 20th century new archaeological data lead to discard those previous concepts. In today’s panorama the way of life based on the exploitation of coastal resources in the Beagle Channel region would have begun around 6500 14C uncal. years B. P. and not much earlier. The later process is seen as adaptive and not as stagnation. The system was able to maintain equilibrium until the early nineteenth century due to an energy subsidy generated in a much larger area than the actually foraged one. In that century, the balance would have been broken by overhunting of seals by Europeans, Americans and Creole. The sea nomads had no opportunity to retrofit their system to the new environmental state: the almost extinction was immediate
Iceland´s (2008) and Argentina´s (2001) crises: Are there any similarities?
Helgi Gunnlaugsson (University of Iceland in Reykjavik, Iceland) & Enrique del Acebo Ibáñez (Universidad del Salvador, Argentina)
Ever since the dreadful days in October of 2008, when the Icelandic financial system collapsed, questions about the failure have dominated the public debate in Iceland. To many local observers this still remains a mystery, because the three largest banks apparently were all well financed in the summer of 2008, and then suddenly went bankrupt in the fall. How could this happen and why? A detailed answer to this urgent question was expected to be answered in a report by an Icelandic parliamentary commission published in mid-April of 2010. The commission was set up in December of 2008 by the Icelandic parliament and was charged with investigating the causes of the banking collapse and identifying those individuals responsible, in either pursuing financial wrongdoing, or allowing it to happen under their supervision. The report was originally expected to be out in November of 2009, but was repeatedly postponed. This delay created enormous pressure and public speculations, about what might be expected in the report. In the paper some of the commission´s findings will be presented and evaluated, by giving insights to both global and local circumstances, which eventually might have led to the Icelandic demise. The findings will also be compared to the banking crisis in Argentina (2001), to seek whether any similarities can be detected to the Icelandic experience.
Landscape and human settlement dynamics in insular environments. An archaeological approach
M. Estela Mansur (CADIC, Ushuaia, CONICET), Karen Hardy (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain) and Raquel Pique (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain)
Archaeological researches in island territories of the subarctic and subantarctic regions, at opposite ends of the planet, have largely developed independently. Therefore independent interpretive frames have also been developed to explore the dynamics of human settlement in the past, especially with regard to hunter-gatherer societies. In the northern hemisphere, the archaeological studies are part of the research tradition of Paleolithic / Mesolithic Europe, initially developed with a largely terrestrial focus. Although in recent years new emphasis has been placed on research in coastal areas – including the subarctic area, the theoretical frameworks remain similar to those employed in the study of hunter-gatherers of the inland areas of continental Europe. On the other side, the archaeology of Tierra del Fuego has developed close to ethnoarchaeological research, as native populations lived there until the end of XIXth century. It has emphasized the analysis of social processes, confronting archaeological data with ethnographic and ethnohistorical records. We believe that models on aboriginal strategies build from this ethno-archaeological perspective constitute an excellent starting point to discuss some aspects of Scottish mesolithic archaeology. Recently we have adopted a comparative approach; our starting point is focused in the differences in scales of analysis (environment, home ranges, etc.). In this paper we highlight some of the comparable features and offer a new perspective on the archaeological record and mobility of hunter-gatherer sites in Scotland using the ethnohistorical records from Tierra del Fuego.
Outdoor bathing: How the outdoor hot tub became the most frequented gathering place in Iceland
Örn D. Jónsson (University of Iceland)
This paper is an attempt to clarify why the abundance of renewable resources is becoming one of the most important characteristics of Icelandic society as nearly 80% of energy used could be categorized as clean. Making use of geothermal water is of vital importance here. Harnessing hot water from the earth is a far from straightforward task; furthermore, it is unique in that it has become the dominant form of energy use in a whole society. Here, implausible as it might seem in view of the Iceland’s ‘topographical’ location, an island in the middle of the North Atlantic, the widespread availability of naturally hot water along with the overall technological capabilities means that its use is varied and has become increasingly important over the years. The principal focus of this paper will be on a partial aspect of geothermal use, i.e. the culture of the rhythm of daily life and public outdoor bathing that has turned out to be one of the most significant features of the Icelandic way of living. The hot tubs of the swimming pools in Iceland have by far become the most frequented places for social gatherings. The analysis is focused on the social aspects of the utilization of geothermal water in Iceland in the context of the nation’s modernization process.
Re-Bordering the Russian North
Anna Stammler-Gossmann (Arctic Centre – University of Lapland, Finland)
For the first time ever in the country’s history, Russia has emphasized its identity as a northern country. This new northern spatiality seems to offer a considerable creative capital for political, economical and social paradigms, where Russia can determine its own honourable and respected position. ‘Northernness’ may even be articulated as an option in the search for a new unifying national identity to replace the ‘single united Soviet people’ ideological construct that was lost after the Soviet Union. However, the problem of defining the North is fundamental and the question where the North is inevitably brings another question what the North is. Many disciplines have attempted for decades to bring forward scientifically grounded definitions on northern boundaries; yet up to the present, combining such definitions to a generally applicable term ‘North’ may still result in ‘an exercise in confusion’ (Sater 2003: 3). Consequently, it is seen more meaningful to view the North, as Armstrong, Rogers and Rowley pointed out already in 1978, as ‘a group of concepts and attributes’ (Armstrong, Rogers, Rowley 1978). Yet how could a coherent definition of an area be negotiated if there are a multitude of conflicting concepts about it?. Space as a whole and in particular as a social reality embraces a huge diversity of characteristics, which cannot be ignored when we attempt to give a general picture of the North in Russia. Every society produces its own space (Lefebvre 1991), and according to Foucault space can adapt to social changes depending on its assigned role and function for society (Foucault 1986). Borrowing these ideas I conceptualise the understanding of the North as a space that has a specific role and function for Russian society, for which legal characteristics are central components. Both perspectives are important for my analysis and represent the North as a space that is formed by society and as a society that is formed by space. In this article I focus on the North as a social construction, which is produced and reproduced by discourses in legal practices.