Living by the River: Means, Meanings and Sense of Place

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


The chapter discusses the river’s central role for the residents of the small northern settlement in Sakha Yakutia (Northeastern Russia) and how living-by-the-river gives people more conscious thoughts on the distinctiveness of their “river place”. The Amma River has an iconic image as the region’s cleanest and most beautiful river, by which people proudly situate themselves. However, highly aestheticized narratives of the river through which this place is actively sensed do not entirely concur with the practical ways residents experience “fluid” qualities of the riverine environment. Local waterscape also demonstrates its “troubled” properties, which villagers are painfully aware of. By some standards, the community is deprived of resources because the riverine environment seems to provide little material value regarding the main economic activity – animal husbandry – and is exposed to increased flooding. This chapter analyzes how a place may anchor human lives despite the tension between “means”: “insufficient” physical settings of waterscape scenery and its rendered meanings. The chapter examines the complexity of how a place is sensed and makes sense through various forces, forms of agency, and encounters between people and the river.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCold Waters
Subtitle of host publicationTangible and Symbolic Seascapes of the North
EditorsMarkku Lehtimäki, Arja Rosenholm, Elena Trubina, Nina Tynkkynen
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-10149-6
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-10148-9
Publication statusPublished - 2022
MoEC publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Publication series

SeriesSpringer Polar Sciences


  • Human-water relationship
  • Republic of Sakha Yakutia
  • Sense of place
  • Northern livelihood
  • Flooding
  • Spirituality
  • Human–more-than-human

Field of science

  • Environmental sciences


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