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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Contribution Paper

Island syndrome as a symbolic resource of modern local communities


  • Dr. Lidia RAKHMANOVA

Primary authors


The uniqueness of geographical position of the Solovetsky archipelago, seasonal isolation, remoteness, rich history, deliberate accentuation of difference between island locales from continental ones gradually formed a myth about ""island phenomenon"" and peculiar island inhabitants. Where is the source of this myth: inside the community or outside? Who benefits from emphasizing the uniqueness of island in order to strengthen local identity, develop business, attract investors? And who, in turn, benefits from presenting island territory in the context of need and shortage – lack of jobs, communication, mobility, health services, education, development – in order to attract governmental or non-commercial support, emphasizing special symbolic capital of the island? How do these two strategies balance between insularity of the community, which can form a flair of “uniqueness” of the island culture and territory itself, accessible only to selected or very courageous and persistent people, and its openness, which is necessary for the development of mass tourism, pilgrimage, enterprises, production etc.? Is it possible to remain unique, being opened? It’s important to understand where opposite motivations appear in strategies of local residents and how the island phenomenon influences their ways to form cultural product and environment. Can we observe exactly the same processes and strategies on the ""mainland"" or are they influenced by an island phenomenon? What lessons can we learn from different periods of the history of the Solovetsky archipelago, (monastery, camp, military base and period of civil society formation) and how do Island and “Islandness” turn/ transform into a symbolic resource?