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Center of Political and Social Anthropology

Phone.: (812) 328-41-52, Ext. 113. E-mail:
Head of Center
Vladimir Popov (acting as)

The Center of Political and Social Anthropology (CPSA) was founded in November 2006 as a thematic structural division of the MAE, aimed at development and coordination of research in the sphere of actual problems of political and social anthropology.


Among the most important spheres of the Center activity are the fol-lowing: ethno-political culture of archaic and non-traditional soci¬eties; potestarity symbolism (primarily, the study of symbols and at¬tributes of power on the materials of the MAE collections); political processes (major factors and the specifics of potestary-political hier¬archy and problems of charismatic leadership establishment); anthro¬pology of kinship, gender and age.


Popov Vladimir, Dr.Sc., acting as Head of CPSA, Chief Researcher (an-thropology of kinship and age, political-genetic processes, ethno-political science, ethnography of the Akan people and other peo¬ples of Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire).

Arsen'ev Vladimir, Cand.Sc., Senior Researcher (ethno-museology, field research methods, social and political anthropology of Africa, Bambara and West Sudan ethnography, Russian in world civiliza¬tion process).

Moskvitina (Siim) Anna, Cand.Sc., Junior Researcher (cultural anthropology, theo¬retical museology, traditional art of Tropical Africa).


Among scientific works authored by CPSA staff, the following are the most important ones:

  • Arsen'ev V. R. Zveri - bogi - lyudi [Animals - Gods - People]. M.: Politizdat, 1991.160 p.
  • Arsen'ev V. R. Al'ternativy buduschego [Future alternatives]. SPb.: Evropeiskii dom, 1996.40 p.
  • Arsen'ev V. R. Bambara: lyudi v perekhodnoi ekonomike [People in transitional economy]. SPb.: MAE RAS, 1997. 260 p.
  • Arsen'ev V. R. Bambara: ot obraza zhizni k obrazam mira i proizvedeniyam iskusstva: opyt etnograficheskogo muzeevedeniya [Bambara: from lifestyle to world outlook and works of art: an experience of ethnographical museology]. SPb.: MAE RAS, 2000. 270 p.
  • Arsen'ev V. R. Osnovnye ponyatiya etnosofii [Main concepts ofethnosophie]. Les notions principales de l'Ethnosophie. (Manifestation # 7a). SPb.: Evropeiskii dom, 2006. 94 p.
  • Arsen'ev V. A. L'Afrique: une affection partagee. Quelques approches a la methode et aux Experiences applicatives. SPb.: Evropeiskii dom, 2008.180 p.
  • Popov V. A. The Ashanti in the 19th century. Opyt etnosotsiologicheskogo issledovaniya [An experience of ethno-sociological research]. M.: Glavnaya redaktsiya vostochnoi literatury izdatel'stva "Nauka", 1982.176 p.
  • Popov V. A. Etnosotsial'naya istoriya akanov v XVI-XIX vekakh. Problemy genezisa i stadial'no-formatsionnogo razvitiya etnopoliticheskikh organizmov [Ethno-social history of the Akan people in the 16th-19th century. Problems of genesis and phased-formationaldevelopment of ethnopolitical organisms]. M.: Glavnaya redaktsiya vostochnoi literatury izdatel'stva "Nauka", 1990. 280 p.
  • Popov V. A. Potestarnost': genesis i evolyutsiya [Potestarity: genesis and evolution]. SPb.: MAE RAS, 1997. 214 p. (joint authorship)
  • PopovV. A. (Ed.). ArabskieistochnikiXIII-XIVvekovpo etnografii i istorii Afriki yuzhnee Sakhary [Arabic sources of the 13th-14th centuries on ethnography and history of Sub-Saharan Africa]. Vol. 4. M.: Vostochnaya literature, 2002. 624 p.
  • Popov V. A. Kto my takie? (O nominativnoi funktsii nauki, ili k antropologii antropologii) [Who are we? (About the nominative center of political and social anthropology function of science, or on the anthropology of anthropology)] // Antropologicheskii forum. Spetsial'nyi vypusk k 6 Kongressu etno-grafof i antropologov Rossii. SPb., 2005. P. 87-93. Popov V. A. Antropologiya rodstva i gendernye issledovnaiya: aktu-al'nye problemy i metodologicheskie podkhody [Anthropology of kinship and gender researchers: actual problems and methodological approaches] // Radlovskii sbornik. SPb.: MAE RAS, 2008. P. 351-361.
  • Siim A. Yu. Afrikanskoe iskusstvo: obraznyi i intellektua'nyi resurs [African art: figurative and intellectual resource] // Peterburgskaya afrikanistika. Sbornik v chest' 70-letiya A. A. Zhukova. SPb., 2008. P. 62-81.


In 2007-09 A.Yu. Moskvitina (Siim) realized the following expedition projects:

"African substratum in the material culture of Brazil population" (November-December 2007, Bahia state, Sao-Paolo). The following collections were donated to the MAE RAS: "Material culture of Afro-Brazilians" and "Black Paris: African Diaspora and tradi¬tional African art in the sphere of consump¬tion" from France and Brazil (African dias¬pora in Brazil, Afro-Brazilians).

"Traditional art of the peoples of West Africa in higher education system" (Novem-ber 2008, Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Sier-ra-Leone). The MAE received a collection of everyday and ritual objects, traditional sculpture and masks from Mali, Burkina Fa-so, Guinea, Sierra-Leone (the Bambara, Do-gon, Lobi, Mosi, Gurunsi, Fula, Mende peo-ple, etc.)

"Material culture and art of the peoples of East Africa (February-March 2009, Tan¬zania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique). The MAE received a collec-tion of everyday and ritual objects, tradi¬tional sculpture and masks from Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mo¬zambique (Swahili, Nyamwezi, Kuba, Hem-ba, Makonde, etc.)

In 2005 V. R. Arsen'ev collected and brought to the MAE a collection of ritual and every-day objects, traditional sculpture and masks from Mali (44 items, the Bambara, Dogon, Mosi, Fula peoples).


In 2007 a permanent (monthly) scientific-methodological seminar was organized by the CPSA called "Anthropology of kinship and gender studies" (Scientific adviser V. A. Popov).


In 2009-11 the CSPA staff members are and will be working on the themes "State and ethnos" (section "Governmental regulation of eth-no-cultural processes","Early forms of ethno-political systems"),"Mu¬seum collections and archive materials in the history of Russian and world culture" (section "Symbols and attributes of power in MAE collections"), "Cultural and biological aspects of the development of humanity" (section "Phenomenology of kinship and gender: biolog¬ical and socio-cultural aspects"). Besides, they participate in the de¬velopment of the project entitled "Creole societies: ethno-cultural, eth-no-social and ethno-linguistic aspects of genesis and lingual com¬munities".

It is planned to continue to publish the almanac called "Algebra of kinship" and collections of articles in the series "Early forms of social and political institutes" (earlier, the following series were published: "Early forms of social stratification" (M., 1991. 336 p.), "Early forms of political organization: from primitive state to statehood" (M., 1995. 352 p.) and "Early forms of socials organization: genesis, functioning, historical dynamics" (SPb., 2000. 352 p.)). The first collection to be published is "Early forms of ethno-political systems".