Sociologie Românească (Romanian Sociology), Vol. XIII, no. 1/2015, pp. 58-69.
A Fishermen’s Village: On the Lipovan Belongingness to the Danube Delta in Jurilovca (Northern Dobroudja)
Abstract: The present article is aimed at accounting for the social, economic, and cultural ways in which the Russian-speaking Lipovan inhabitants of Jurilovca village define and assume their belongingness to the biotope of Danube Delta in the North of Tulcea County, Romania. Two theoretical notions are followed in this regard, in terms of regional complex (according to Romanian geographer Simion Mehedinţi), and cultural area (as authored by the American anthropologist Clark Wissler). A series of social, economic, and cultural characteristics of Lipovan villagers outline the importance of fishing for the local livelihood as well as worldview, i.e. ethnicity, kinship, ethno-history, technical vocabulary, seasonal work, barter exchange, folk cookery, and the socialism vs. post-socialism perception. Beyond their traditional and contemporary ethnography, the crucial issue for the native villagers in Jurilovca is that of the very continuity of “their lake’s [unwritten] law” (as a vernacular representation) in contrast to the politics of renting out the local fishing areas. Therefore, the perspectives of the Russian-Lipovan “regional complex” of fishing within the “cultural area” from the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve appear to depend on the degree to which local aspects of customary law might be reconciled with the official legislation with respect to traditional ownership, genealogical inheritance, and the right of preemption.
Keywords: Russian Lipovan; Danube Delta; fishing; regional complex; cultural area; customary law.
Cuvinte-cheie: ruşii lipoveni; Delta Dunării; pescuit; complex regional; arie culturală; drept consuetudinar.