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Village Values

Negotiating Identity, Gender, and Resistance in Urban Russian Life-Cycle Rituals


Publication Year: 2008

Published by: Slavica Publishers


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. ix-x

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1. Introduction to the Question

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pp. 1-29

This project began in a St. Petersburg apartment in the summer of 1995, while I was visiting a family whose son was studying to be a doctor. He and his wife were in the midst of their three internship rotations (roughly described as general practice/internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology and pediatrics). I inquired what specialization they might choose. The husband said that he would not specialize in obstetrics, as that was women's work. His wife agreed...

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2. Nineteenth-Century life-Cycle Rituals

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pp. 31-62

It is not the goal of this book to provide a detailed examination of nineteenth-century life-cycle rituals in the Russian village. Abundant material is already available in both English and Russian on the practices. For broad overviews in English, see Tian-Shanskaia 1998 and Sokolov 1950; in Russian, see Aleksandrov et al. 2003, Zelenin 1991, and Kabakova 2001. There are also sources on individual rituals in both languages, including Ransel 2000 and Nekliudov...

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3. The Soviet Russian Childbirth Ritual (1950-90)

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pp. 63-117

Soviet-era childbirth practices were derived from three distinct sources: the folk tradition, established (Western) medical practice, and Soviet ideals. Beginning in the nineteenth century, the medical establishment was already attempting to change village traditions related to birth (Ramer 1992). The Soviet medical system continued this trend of modernizing treatment of pregnant...

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4. The Soviet Russian Wedding Ritual (1950-90)

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pp. 119-176

In the early years of the Soviet Union, marriage and family were institutions that many believed should be eliminated entirely or would eventually disappear with the introduction of communist social policy (Junler 1980, 228; Goldman 1993, 3). Traditional family structures represented backward, patriarchal, and bourgeois society and were thus inimical to a truly revolutionary social policy. The Bolsheviks called for a policy that would institute governmental...

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5. The Soviet Russian Funeral Ritual (1950-90)

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pp. 177-228

For the redesign of childbirth and wedding rites, Soviet theoreticians could rely on conceptions of the family built upon communist morality and on the dukhovnye 'spiritual' values of the individual. Expectations for these ritual acts had long been established in state ideology, which gave them license to create rites reflecting official policy. As we have seen, by the 1930s they had decided to reinforce the family unit because of its importance to social and governmental...

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6. Life-Cycle Rituals during Late Perestroika and in the Post-Soviet World

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pp. 229-275

The 1990s saw the end of the Soviet Union and its reformation as the Russian Federation. With this change came upheaval in all aspects of daily life and a redefinition of social identity. As a result, the rituals themselves have also changed, because the norms of gender and familial roles have altered to some extent. We have established that ritual actors rely on shifting, and sometimes...

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7. The Soviet Ritual Complex

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pp. 277-284

The life-cycle rituals we have studied demon strate the complexity of negotiating family identity in the last four decades of the Soviet Union. They were created, as we have seen, on the basis of three distinct sources: Soviet ideology; folk and religious tradition; and consumerist ideals, scientific practices and philosophical theories adopted from the West. Nevertheless, these three sources meshed to form a coherent system which people relied upon to create and establish their social roles. While one might expect the public ceremonies...


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pp. 285-289


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pp. 291-301


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pp. 303-310

E-ISBN-13: 9780893578534
E-ISBN-10: 0893578533
Print-ISBN-13: 9780893573539
Print-ISBN-10: 0893573531

Page Count: 320
Publication Year: 2008

OCLC Number: 835522019
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Village Values

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Subject Headings

  • Russia (Federation) -- Social life and customs.
  • Soviet Union -- Social life and customs.
  • Rites and ceremonies -- Soviet Union.
  • Rites and ceremonies -- Russia (Federation).
  • Life cycle, Human.
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