The author develops a new approach to the interpretation of peasant oral stories, especially of those that somehow reconstruct the events of the Civil War of 1917–1922. The relevant short peasant stories were recorded in 1991–1993 during the first peasant expedition of Teodor Shanin. In those years in Russian villages, it was still possible to find direct witnesses of military events of 1917–1922. The fragments of peasant narratives were analyzed with a combination of philosophical, social-linguistic and folkloristic approaches to answer the following questions: what and how do old peasants reconstruct the events of the Civil War? What part of these oral stories can be considered a reliable historical source? What mise-en-scenes of military events remained in the memory of respondents? What is the dominant mode of peasant narratives? What are the discursive nuances of peasant oral stories about the Civil War? The article is intended for historians, ethnographers and sociologists interested in the peasant worlds of Russia.
oral history, civil war in Russia, historical memory, everyday “fairy tale”, peasant life practices, peasant worlds, rural sociology, discourse of short stories and fiction
Vinogradsky Valery G., DSc (Philosophy), Senior Researcher, Center for Agrarian Studies, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. 119571, Moscow, Prosp. Vernadskogo, 82.
The article presents author’s interpretation of a number of interviews with the head of the household in the Kuban village, the mother of three children, Lyubov Kuranovskaya, who, while answering the interviewer’s questions, created a detailed picture of peasant everyday life, of the rural formal and informal economy. Fifteen years ago, the journal “Sociological Studies” published the first data of this project, and the articles were not typical for such a scientific edition. In the special foreword, the Editorial Board mentioned that the journal usually did not publish such research documents (reports, tables, interviews, etc.); however, an exception was made for the text was of a great value in terms of its content, and it was an example of qualitative interviewing that could be further analyzed. Thus, the respondent ‘received a voice’ and told the readers about her life without any analytical explanations and generalizations. Lyuba Kuranovskaya still lives in the Kuban stanitsa, though much has changed in fifteen years. The author follows the publishing format of 2002 to show Lyubov Ivanovna’s present life practices, and focuses on those aspects of her family economy that are usually named ‘informal’, ‘expolar’, ‘shadow’ or ‘invisible’. Lyuba talks about her life sincerely, trustingly, and picturesquely. The words speak for themselves — the narrator tries to discursively support her own life world so that to move confidently into the future. The text presents fragments of narratives recorded in 2000 and 2012 (previously not published) together with short comments aimed to tie up current and previous life experiences of Lyubov Ivanovna Kuranovskaya.
in-depth interview, types of informality, family economy, peasant life practices, peasant worlds, rural sociology, discourse of rural everyday life
Vinogradsky Valery G., DSc (Philosophy), Senior Researcher, Center for Agrarian Studies, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. 119571, Moscow, prosp. Vernadskogo, 82, Russia.