Home    Number 4, 2016

Chto takoe “voobrazhaemyi Sever”?

[What Is the “Northern Imaginary”?]

Type of publication: Research Article

About author(s)

Daniel Chartier | chartier.daniel@uqam.ca | проф., руководитель | The Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM)


Arctic, North, images, culture, plurilinguism, pluriculturality, research ethics, pluridisciplinarity, winter


The North has been imagined and represented for centuries by artists and writers of the Western world, which has led, over time and the accumulation of successive layers of discourses, to the creation of “images of the North”- ranging from the “North” of Scandinavia, Greenland, Russia, to the “Far North” or the poles. Westerners have reached the North Pole only a century go, which makes the “North” the product of a double perspective: an outside one – made especially of Western images – and an inside one – that of Northern cultures (Inuit, Scandinavian, Cree, etc.). The first are often simplified and the second, ignored. If we wish to understand what the “North” is in an overall perspective, we must ask ourselves two questions: how do images define the North, and which ethical principles should govern how we consider Northern cultures in order to have a complete view (including, in particular, those that have been undervalued by the South)? In this article, the author tries to address these two questions, first by defining what the images of the North are and then by proposing an inclusive program to “recomplexify” the cultural Arctic.

Funding Information

This research was supported by the following institutions and grants:
Russian Science Foundation, grant no 14-38-00031


Chartier, D. 2016. Chto takoe “voobrazhaemyi Sever”? [What Is the “Northern Imaginary”?]. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 4: 20-29

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