Areas of interest:

  • the ontological turn;
  • philosophy of language;
  • symbolic anthropology.

Graduate student of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA) in pursuit of a degree in «Theory, Methodology, and History of Sociology».

Graduated from the Faculty of Art History of the Russian State University of the Humanities (RGGU) in 2013. Spent 2014−2015 as an exchange student of the Erasmus Mundus programme at the Faculty for Semiotics at the University of Tartu, Estonia. Completed an MA at the Center for Typology and Semiotics of Folklore at the Russian State University for the Humanities in 2016. Completed an MA at the Faculty of Fundamental Sociology at the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences (MSSES) in 2018.

Conducted research for the Centre for Urban Anthropology at the Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design, and worked as a researcher at the Folklore Studies Laboratory at the School of Advanced Studies in the Humanities at RANEPA and at the Center for Folklore and Anthropological Studies at MSSES, 2015−17. Regular participant in academic folklore fieldwork since 2014.

Academic publications:

Volkova M. D. Kritika antropologicheskogo razuma: kommentariĭ k rabote Martina Kholbrada ‘Istina v dvizhenii: rekursivnaya antropologiya kubinskikh predskazatelei' [A critique of anthropological reason. Commentary on Martin Holbraad’s Truth in Motion: The Recursive Anthropology of Cuban Divination]. In: Doxa Studies 2019. № 2. (forthcoming).

Volkova M. D. Za gran’yu stakana: Ideal’nyye veshchi v postsovetskoy ‘sovetskoy utopii' [Beyond the glass. Ideal objects in post-Soviet ‘Soviet utopia']. In: Novoye literaturnoye obozreniye 2017. No 1. pp. 191−201.

Volkova M. D. ‘Ya vezde vizhu ukrainskiye flagi': neverbal’nyy kod kak igrovaya forma soprotivleniya [‘Everywhere I see Ukrainian flags. Non-verbal codes as playful forms of resistance]. In: Simvolicheskoye soprotivleniye 2016. Vol. 1. pp. 85−94.

Volkova M. D., Davletshin A. I., Koz’min A. V., Korovina Ye. V., Kushnir Ye.L. Taityanskiy mif tvoreniya: perevod i kommentarii [The Tahitian creation myth. Translation and commentary]. In: Shagi/Steps 2015. Vol. 1, No. 2.

Participation in conferences and seminars:

Developmental Vectors of Modern Russia. Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences, 21.04.2018. Paper: The ontological turn in anthropology.

«Through Children’s Eyes.» Child Subjectivity in Social Sciences and the Public Sphere. European University Saint Petersburg, 22.12.2018. Paper: ‘Blue whales'. Children’s' practices of online play.

Imaginary Universes and Mediumistic Practices in the Space of Culture. RANEPA, Moscow, 1−2.12.2017. Paper: ‘Don't get in the Quiet Don, don’t even try, anonymous'. Gaming as legend tripping.

International Conference «Symbolic Resistance: Texts and Practices», November 24−26, 2016, School for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at RANEPA, Moscow. Paper: ‘Everywhere I see Ukrainian flags.' Non-verbal codes as playful forms of resistance.

International Conference «The Mongols. Traditional Culture and Modernity.» 13−15 October 2016, Moscow, Russian State University for the Humanities. Paper: Difficult faith. Alcohol in shamanic practices among the Baikal Buryats.

A Fieldworker’s Vision: Researching the Present. Folklore, Ethnology, and Ethnomusicology Conference Aberdeen. Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, 1−3 July 2016. Paper: ‘Bedevilling a President'. Actual practices through traditional means".

Arkhipova A. Volkova M. «Stalin as a Cultural Demiurge of the Soviet Everyday Life». In: M. Kalda, E. Kalmre (eds.). Perspectives on Contemporary Legend. 34th International Conference. Tallinn, Estonia, June 28 — July 2, 2016. Tallinn, 2016. Tartu-Tallinn: ELM Scholarly Press, 2016. pp. 47−48.

The study explores the impact of the emergence and spread of shamanic organisations in Buryatia and the Irkutsk region upon the life trajectories of individual shamans over the last seventeen years.

Traditionally, the shaman’s role was primarily ascribed by his local community, where he acted as an individual magical specialist who received his knowledge and gift directly from his ancestors. In this system, tribal affiliation was important—the shaman communicated with the spirits of his tribe and performed rituals at his tribe’s sacred place. The remaining members of the local community took part in these rituals as representatives of the same tribe. Tribal and territorial affiliation more or less coincided, or at least they were supposed to. Today, we can observe shamans from different areas joining into groups, where they develop their own representational systems, sometimes not directly related to the traditions found in their places of origin. Shamans are often forced to leave their homes for a regional centre to study at a shamanistic organisation and thus may lose their ties with their communities of origin. This means that the focus of the shaman’s activity shifts from his role in a particular local community to his «career» within the organisation.

In terms of theoretical approach, this study bases itself upon Mary Douglas' work How Institutions Think (1986). From her perspective, institutions create classification systems which are then used by social actors. In her analysis of religious associations of shamans in Tuva, Ksenia Pimenova assumes that the concept of Soviet ethnography might have influenced the institutional optics in the republic. She describes shamanism as an early form of religion, allowing shamanic associations to gain recognition as «religious organisations». Shamans, in turn, borrowed new classifications in order to build and maintain a centralised and hierarchical structure for their own association. In Buryatia and the Irkutsk region, a similar process is underway. However, these regions have seen the emergence of not one, but many associations, each with its own classifications and its own borrowed legal and bureaucratic optics.

The study will show how various types of shamanistic organisations use different classification systems, which, in turn, influence the trajectories of the lives that shamans make for themselves.