Life Values Of Nenets In The Conditions Of Globalization


At the present time, globalization does not leave aside even the most remote and sparsely populated areas of our country, bringing its negative consequences there, exerting a direct impact on all social processes. The inclusion of the Arctic in the sphere of global economic and political interestsas well as active state and supranational influence on the traditional economy and the traditional way of life of the indigenous peoples of the Russian Arctic lead to serious and often non-positive transformations in their behavior. The life values of the indigenous small-numbered peoples can be used as an indicator that reveals the globalization trends in the Russian Arctic. This study is aimed at identifying the dominant values among the indigenous peoples of the Russian Arctic - the Nenets and the impact of globalization on them. To study their life values, we used an adapted version of Sh. Schwartz's PVQ-R questionnaire. As a result of the study, significant differences were found among the Nenets and the residents of Central Russia in values such as conformity, tradition, independence, achievement and security. Such values as safety and independence are significantly higher among the Nenets in comparison with the urban residents of the Central Russia, which, according to some researchers, may be due to living conditions in the North. In general, the life values of the indigenous peoples of the Russian Arctic are quite stable, which is explained by their cultural characteristics.

Keywords: Arctic region, globalization, indigenous peoples, system


The globalization of the society in the field of technology, communications, economy, culture affects the most remote territories of Russia. The indigenous peoples of the Arctic are acutely aware of the consequences of globalization changes, one of which is the erosion of ethnic identity (Greaves, 2016). Personal values, largely determined by cultural values, can act as a marker that highlights globalization trends in society. However, the question remains about the variability of life values under the influence of these trends.

The previous studies provide ambiguous and contradictory answers to this question. For instance, the study of life values directed by Schwartz shows that in 7 years since the beginning of world globalization, the values of different countries have not changed significantly (Schwartz, 2008). Schwartz concludes that “the differences between countries in cultural values are quite stable: relative positions of countries in these orientations change very slowly” (Schwartz, 2008, p. 38). Consequently, he believes that globalization manifestations in everyday life are superficial, not affecting people's basic motives and values. «Following other countries in clothes, food, music does not mean imitation in other, more important aspects of culture, first of all, in value orientations» (Schwartz, 2008). Some authors also share this view point (Reeskens & Vandecasteele, 2016). At the same time, there is evidence that socio-economic conditions form their own system of values (Lebedeva et al., 2000)

Problem Statement

Values are widely studied in social psychology by Inglehart and Welzel (2005), Knafo, Roccas and Sagiv (2011), Osbeck, (2019), Schwartz (2008), Schwartz and Bilsky (1987), Yanitsky et al. (2019). There is enough evidence on how values influence one’s behavior. The role of values as a behavioral mediator is emphasized by Bardi and Schwartz (2003), Gutierrez-Carmona and Urzua (2019), Hanel et al. (2018), Maio (2010), Schultz and Zelezny (1998), Schwartz and Butenko (2014), Schwartz et al. (2017), Tekes et al. (2018), Yang et al. (2019), Zabelina et al. (2020) and others.

The authors researching value shifts prioritize, first and foremost, the younger generation. According to Inglehart's famous theory of intergenerational change of values (Inglehart & Welzel, 2005), the differences in values are due to the specificity of people’s social and economic background during the period of formation of their system of value orientations. Recent studies have shown that Russia has also been affected by this globalization trend. According to Garvanova and Garvanov (2014), “globally, cultural change is taking place with the increasing importance of the value of rationality, tolerance, trust and citizen participation in political and economic decision-making” (p. 7).

The studies on the contemporary Russian student body carried out in the early 2000s reported a number of constant values (protection of the family, health, friendship, loyalty, intelligence, meaning of life, internal harmony). According to Lebedeva (2000), “these are related to the primary values of the Russian culture that are passed on from generation to generation” (p. 86). At the same time, individual values are more preferred: self-respect, independence, success, choice. Significant motivation of behavior of young Russians is the desire to achieve personal success, choice of one’s own goals, independence, well-being (Lebedeva, 2000), that is, the values brought about by the global world.

The other recent studies show the similar results: the values associated with the adaptation resource – health, education, self-confidence, material well-being – come to the fore for young people (Deyneka, 2013).

The contradictory results reported by different studies make the analysis of life values of indigenous Arctic peoples in the conditions of globalization very topical.

Research Questions

There were two main questions in thus study:

  • Which values are dominant among one of the indigenous small-numbered peoples of the Arctic - the Nenets?
  • Do these life values are changing under the influence of globalization?

Purpose of the Study

This study aims to find out which values are dominant among one of the indigenous small-numbered peoples of the Arctic - the Nenets, and also to determine whether these life values are changing under the influence of globalization.

Research Methods

The study involved 105 people - representatives of one of the indigenous smal peoples - the Nenets - aged 17 to 73 years (average age is 28.6), including 42 men, 63 women living in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug (the villages Aksarka and Yar-Sale) and the Nenets Autonomous Okrug (Naryan-Mar city, the villages Nes, Krasnoe). The control sample consisted of residents of central Russia living in the cities Chelyabinsk and St. Petersburg and who do not consider themselves to be indigenous northern peoples, in the amount of 108 people aged 18 to 68 years (average age is 26.3), including 412 men and 626 women.

To diagnose life values, the expanded and revised version of the Schwartz questionnaire PVQ-R adapted by the researchers of the National Research University - Higher School of Economics, Russia (Schwartz et al., 2012) was used. The convenience of this version of the methodology lies in the fact that, along with 19 refined values, it provides an opportunity to diagnose 10 basic values highlighted in the original concept (Schwartz & Bilsky, 1987), thereby allowing comparison with previous studies.


At the first stage, the values were ranked by the mean value in the sample in order to identify the structure of the hierarchy of life values. Tables 1 and 2 present the results of ranking values among the Nenets and the residents of the cities in Central Russia, respectively.

Table 1 - Life values of the Nenets: descriptive statistics
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As the analysis of the descriptive statistics of the life values shows, the most significant for the Nenets are the values of safety, benevolence and independence. Safety for oneself and other people, harmony in relationships, stability of society are the most important value priorities of the Nenets people. This fact, largely due to the harsh natural and climatic conditions of living in the North, is confirmed by many researchers (Pavlenko et al., 2019; Vinokurova, 2011). Probably, the same factor (understanding the vulnerability and value of human life) is associated with benevolence focused on well-being in everyday positive interaction with loved ones. Under these conditions, the ability to think independently and choose methods of action, creative and research activity, gains special significance, therefore, the need for self-control and self-management is important.

Table 2 - Life values of urban residents of Central Russia: descriptive statistics
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The urban residents who do not consider themselves to be the indigenous small peoples of the Arctic, in the first places in the hierarchy are the values of benevolence, achievement and security. For the representatives of this sample, it is important to maintain friendly, warm relations with their loved ones, to take care of them. At the same time, they strive for personal success, to achieve their goals. In addition, the respondents of this group tend to the safety of themselves and other people; predictability and stability of the society as a whole are important for them (just like for the Nenets).

Next, we used the cross-sectional method to identify the characteristics of the life values of the Nenets. The results of the comparative analysis are presented in table 3.

Table 3 - The results of a comparative analysis of life values among the Nenets and the residents of Central Russia
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The comparative analysis revealed significant differences in life values ​​such as conformity, tradition, independence, achievements and safety in those two groups. Safety and independence - values ​​that are priorities for the Nenets - are significantly higher in them compared to the urban residents of Central Russia. Even in the context of globalization, the Nenets are more in need of social stability and security for themselves and their families. In addition, they tend to think more and make decisions for themselves, regardless of the opinions of others. The representatives of the Nenets are more focused on achieving success in their activities, for them the positive results of their activities and the achievement of their goals are more important. The preservation of norms and standards enshrined in culture is of comparative great value for the Nenets; they try to preserve and pass them on from generation to generation to a greater extent, and are also focused on the observance of social rules and norms.

At the same time, no significant differences were found in values such as power, hedonism, stimulation, universalism, benevolence. Most of the values ​​are individualistic in nature, self-oriented (as opposed to the values of self-identification), which may indicate the overall impact of globalization with its social and cultural norms.

The data obtained generally correspond to the previous studies and indicate that, to a large extent, the ethnically determined hierarchy of life values ​​remains among the indigenous peoples (Pospelova, 2016; Vinokurova, 2011).


The conducted research allows us to conclude that the values of one of the indigenous small-numbered peoples of the Russian Arctic - the Nenets - are in many respects stable and are not the subject to the influence of globalization. Apparently, life values provide these peoples with connections with their roots, culture. The values allow the Nenets to preserve their personality even under the influence of acculturation. The revealed features of life values will serve as a predictor in the study of the economic behavior of the indigenous peoples of the Russian Arctic.


The reported study was funded by the RFBR under Research Project No. 19-013-00394 A


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Personality, norm, pathology, behavior, uncertanity, COVID-19

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Kurnosova, S., Shchukina, K., Lukmanova, M., Koulikova, O., & Vityazeva, M. (2021). Life Values Of Nenets In The Conditions Of Globalization. In M. Ovchinnikov, I. Trushina, E. Zabelina, & S. Kurnosova (Eds.), Personality in Norm and in Pathology, vol 112. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 418-424). European Publisher.