Inversive Ambivalence: Traditions and Innovations in the Frontier Societies
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Inversive Ambivalence: Traditions and Innovations in the Frontier Societies
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Sergey Yakushenkov 
Affiliation: Astrakhan State University
Address: Russian Federation, Astrakhan

The problem of the correlation between tradition and innovation has been on the agenda for decades. As a rule, traditions are perceived as an obligatory attribute of the traditional society opposing such notions as progress, modernization, etc. Modernization turns out to be an integral part of progress. In this article an attempt is made to get away from the conventions of antinomies of tradition and innovation. The author uses the concept of “nvented tradition” by Hobsbawm to show how, in the conditions of frontier liminality and transgression, the meanings of tradition and innovation are constantly changing, interchanged or complemented. The frontier actor finds himself in a new natural and cultural situation, when the only way to survive is to accept traditions of the Other, even if they are archaic ones, which become an innovation for him because they carry new cultural paradigms. Under these conditions, the actor is faced with the choice of several strategies of action, which only at first glance seem to be implemented in the linear opposition to archaism/modernism, but in fact combine both dimensions. The article discusses various variants of these strategies. All of them are illustrated with different examples. Only some variants of these strategies occupy the extreme points of opposition of conservatism/modernism. Two strategies have a hybrid character and easily occupy the whole semantic field, being either conservative or modernist, or being both, which turns them into special chimeras, which, as a rule, are difficult to unambiguously correlate from one side of the opposition. However, they are the essence of the majority of cultural processes in the frontier environment.

traditions, innovations, identity construction, ethnic culture, frontier, periphery, hybridity
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