The aim of this thesis is to investigate Estonian history textbooks published in the Republic of Estonia in Estonian as well as in Russian languages and used in the gymnasium during the period from 1991-2012. The thesis is focused on the following landmarks in the history of Estonia: The World War II, the Stalin's repressions, the time under the Soviet rule, the collapse of the Soviet union and the sovereignty of Estonia stemming from it. It is these periods and landmarks which may originate different theoretical interpretations of history in terms of the framework of Estonian Republic. Estonian as well as Russian textbooks of history for gymnasium can serve as sources and media for interpretations. Topicality and actual value of the thesis today is certain and evident owing to the reasons. Since it is perfectly possible to influence and shape the worldviews and perspectives of a personality especially during one's reaching the age of puberty. History textbooks or as in the case Estonian textbooks on history in particular are the means enabling to create certain viewpoints and perspectives. School plays the role of institution with its curricula realizing the mentioned function. The young among the local Estonians as well as Russian-speaking minorities may have different perspectives and viewpoints. Besides that, the Estonian textbooks used do not necessarily reflect the historical facts the same way, neither give similar understanding of the same landmarks of significance. Given the mentioned assumptions it is important to learn whether the history textbooks published in this particular time lapse in Estonia have possibly influenced in certain way and shaped different understandings of the past events or on the contrary, suggest the same identical worldview and perspective or imply several alternative possible interpretations. There have been made certain conclusions with the help of analysis made on the basis of comparisons and juxtaposing. The conclusions found are that Estonian textbooks can shape and create different viewpoints being in stark contrast with one another. There are differences between the Estonians textbooks written in Russian and Estonian as well as numerous differences between the textbooks written in Estonian. It is worth mentioning that the difference between the textbooks written in Russian language are negligible and minor.
The aim of this research is, above all, to investigate the formation story of the Estonians’ own museum, with the emphasis on the relations between the museum and people. The evolution of the idea of the Estonian National Museum (ENM) and its realization reflects the maturing story of Estonian people into a nation. After the official foundation of the ENM in 1909, during the first decade of its existence, the museum underwent a change in its paradigm, growing from a national-romantic idea generated by a few intellectuals into a memory institution with extensive membership and clear visions. The museum constructed a valued past narrative, through which it was possible to find in the past the things to be proud of and to prove that Estonians are also a cultured nation. The strategies and practices of the ENM in pursuing its objectives were directed both inside and outside the museum. During the initial years of the museum the primary course of action constituted heritage collection and shaping the essence of the museum, which in European context yielded a remarkable result. The museum statutes had stipulated broad-based objectives and although as early as during the initial years of its existence the museum had theoretically developed into a versatile institution, in practice the identity was based on material heritage. There was still no wider intellectual potential for elaborating the results: however, the unique collections presented a great opportunity for the future specialists. Käesoleva uurimistöö eesmärgiks on eelkõige selgitada välja eesti rahva oma muuseumi kujunemise lugu rõhuasetusega muuseumi ja rahva vahelisel suhtel. Eesti Rahva Muuseumi (ERM) mõtte areng ja teoks saamine peegeldab eesti rahva rahvuseks küpsemise lugu. 1909. aastal ametlikult eluõiguse saanud muuseumi esimese kümnendi jooksul toimus paradigma muutus, kus üksikute haritlaste idealistlikust rahvusromantilisest ideest kujunes välja rahvaga aktiivselt suhtlev laiaulatusliku liikmeskonnaga ja selgete sihtidega mäluasutus. Muuseum konstrueeris väärtustatud mineviku narratiivi, mille kaudu oli võimalik leida oma minevikust seda, mille üle uhke olla ja mille kaudu tõestada, et ka eestlased on kultuurrahvas. ERMi strateegiad ja praktikad eesmärkide elluviimisel olid suunatud nii muuseumi sisse- kui väljapoole. Esmaoluline tegevussuund muuseumi esimeste aastate jooksul vanavara korjamise ja muuseumile sisu moodustamise näol andis kogu Euroopa kontekstis tähelepanuväärse tulemuse. Muuseumi põhikiri oli sätestanud laiapõhjalised eesmärgid ja kuigi muuseumist kujunes teoreetiliselt juba esimestel aastatel mitmekülgne institutsioon, sai aga praktikas identiteedi alus vanavarast. Tulemuste teaduslikuks läbitöötamiseks puudus veel laiem vaimne potentsiaal, see-eest oli loodud võimalus tulevastele erialateadlastele suurepäraste ja unikaalsete kollektsioonide näol.
Kihnu is a small island off the western coast of Estonia, where a number of traditional cultural phenomena have been preserved. Quite a number of traditional dances are kept alive in the traditional and modern context. These dances are danced at traditional family and calendar events: pre-wedding rituals and weddings, gatherings on the eve of St Catherine’s Day, as social dances at different festivities, during organized performances for tourists, and at festivals and other events on the Kihnu island as well as in Estonian towns and abroad. The dancers are mainly members of the amateur group Kihnumua, which has been active for more than 30 years under the guidance of Katrin Kumpan. The groups have no fixed membership, as most of the island’s inhabitants know the tradition. Dances were taught also in the local school and dance club. Some old round and partner dances have disappeared, but about 10–15 dances, mostly partner dances, are still in active use. All partner dances (incl. waltz and polka) are danced in a circle. Couples can be mixed, though women often dance among themselves. Many widely known dances have specific regional style variants. The main musical instrument nowadays is accordion, which is often played by women. Bagpipe music is forgotten, and good fiddlers were found up to the mid-20th century. Also, hand harmonica, the most popular musical instrument of the late 19th and early 20th century, has become rather rare by now.
The article observes the degree to which narrators of life stories interpret the course of their life as an individual choice and as a degree of inevitability resulting from the socio-historical context. Folkloristic approaches of the survival of the tradition as the intertwinement of predetermination (folklore awareness) and individual experience, and the approaches of the construction of "autobiographical self" based on the sciences of psychology in biographical research serve as the theoretical basis of the article. The material derives from three biographies sent to the Estonian Life Histories Association in the course of the collection competition of life histories conducted in 2000-2001 on the topic My life and the life of my family in Estonian SSR and the Republic of Estonia. The campaign resulted in over 300 life histories, currently held at the Archives of Cultural History of the Estonian Literary Museum (fund 350). The main source of the article is a life history which is compared with two other stories from the angle of problem presentation. The first basis of comparison is the temporal context. The historical background of the stories of the informants, born in the early 1950s in rural communities in Estonia, has been shaped by the periods of stability under the Soviet regime: during 1950-1960 and during 1970-1980. The first period is described partly through hardships endured during the post-war period, and partly through the economic difficulties at the time collective farms were established. The second period is characterised as more stable, but was still marked with problems with shortage of goods. On the axis of individual course of life, the first period is associated with childhood and the role of family in the informants' lives, whereas the second period is associated with school, acquiring an occupation and the course of personal life. The second period also entails the formation of attitudes towards the Soviet theme. The analysed life histories are presented in the context of events of the 1990s, the period of radical change in the political system of Estonia: how the narrators view the Soviet period now, at the time of independence, and how they perceive their opportunities in the new situation and which aspects do they see themselves as having been deprived of. The second basis for comparison is the self-images of narrators in the extreme situations during the stable period of the Soviet Estonia (prison/army violence). The concordance between individual abilities and behavioural preferences point to the role of cultural predetermination in specific decisions of the individual. The analysis of the narratives reflects the dynamics of predetermination and choices: historical-political framework as a predetermination, adaptation to it as a choice; origin as a predetermination, the interpretation of the life experience of one's family members as a choice; a violent situation as a predetermination, defiance with either physical force or analysis of experience is an individual choice, but also as a predetermination owing to personal qualities and abilities. The central analyses of personal histories diversify period analyses: the Soviet period in this case is not rendered meaningful only within the framework of the period (1940-1991) and political ideas. The issue of cultural continuity transgressing the limits of the period illustrate the life during and after the Soviet period. In the context of this article, the cultural continuity was expressed through the participation of family.
The aim of the paper is to analyse the collective expression of attitudes elicited by the doping scandal that concerned the esteemed Estonian cross-country skier and Olympic gold medal winner, Andrus Veerpalu. The paper provides an insight into the evolution of an athlete into a national hero on the Internet. The analysis is based on the material collected from Estonian online media during two years (from April 2011 to March 2013), when Andrus Veerpalu’s court case was actively followed by the Estonian sports circles and laymen alike. The data corpus includes the most relevant news texts published in the online news portal Delfi (www.delfi.ee), comments from the same online environment, posts from the Facebook fan sites, e.g., “We believe in Andrus Veerpalu”, etc. The doping accusation called forth a quasi-religious movement, which was built around the belief that the athlete was sacred and it was not allowed to attack or accuse him in any way. The main threads in the comments analysed within this study could be divided into two opposing, although intertwining categories: the serious and the ironic. Both categories included people who believed in Veerpalu’s innocence, and those who did not; in addition, there were those who displayed their superiority towards the entire discussion. The analysis addresses the transformation of an Olympic hero into a national hero, and points out narratives that treat the scandal within the present-day genres of urban legends, conspiracy theories, and Internet humour. The more or less genuine belief of people was reflected in sought-out explanations for the doping test result and counter-arguments (above all, via conspiracy stories, but also through social mobilisation in support of Veerpalu). In the post factum comments, the majority expressed the feeling that their trust had been justified; they renewed their unremitting belief in the acquitted hero. But the rather complicated end to the long case was also a confusing one, and this allowed the ironic discourse to produce parodies, jokes and other critical comments. The questions central to the analysis are the following: (1) How does the audience interpret information provided by the media and which topics do the interpretations initiate in turn? (2) How does the notion of belief emerge in the discussion, which narratives and stereotypes are believed in, and how is the belief rationalised? (3) Which folkloric and other cultural (transmedial) texts have taken inspiration from this doping scandal?
The possibilities for using folklore in studying history are directly dependent on the raised problem. In memories about the distant past, reality and fiction are often mixed up, which is why historians may regard the reliability of such stories as low. Still, such folklore shows what was valued, which events were felt to be significant and important. For historians, problems have been posed by the reliability and difficulties in dating the lore. In connection with the emergence of microhistory, more and more attention is being paid to how and what people thought, and it is often very difficult to find answers to this question in written sources. This article observes the possibilities for using historical tradition in the studies of agrarian and settlement history and, more specifically, five narrow topics that concern border markers, the emergence of villages, land use in farms, inheritance matters, and beggars. Oral tradition about the founding of villages and farms and their first settlers is in most cases connected with the periods of war and the plague, immigration of people, or some other extraordinary event. Descriptions of everyday life, which are abundantly found in folk memory, usually speak about well known and familiar things. At the same time, they considerably help to broaden notions of the past and enable to find out the peasants’ attitudes towards and evaluations of one or another event or phenomenon. As a result of taking folklore into consideration, the picture of history becomes much more differentiated and colourful. The folklore that has been observed in this article is closely connected with the village society, and it primarily reveals notions connected with the farm people’s everyday life. Archive sources usually disclose them from quite a different point of view. As a result of the analysis, we have reached the conclusion that the best results are achieved when historical tradition is taken into account for relatively recent events, those that have happened since the second half of the 19th century, and under circumstances in which spatial relationships have not considerably changed. The use of earlier lore is more complicated, although it also enables us to see people’s attitudes, which gives a ‘soul’ to the discussed phenomena. The biggest difference is that archive materials, naturally, do not reflect the reasons hidden in the peasants’ mental world. Namely, this is why the use of folklore enables to provide important extra material for studying settlement and agrarian history, which supplements a rational picture about past events and processes, and enables to open up deeper backgrounds to what happened.
Siinne doktoritöö käsitleb rahvuskuuluvuse tähendust inimeste ja riigi vahelistes suhetes 20. sajandi esimesel poolel, kasutades näidisvalimina 1941. aastal Eestist Saksamaale ümber asunud inimeste andmeid. Uurimuse eesmärk on selgitada, kas ja kuidas riiklik rahvuspoliitika mõjutas inimeste käitumist ja vastupidi – mil määral mõjutasid inimeste valikud riikide tegevust. Valimisse hõlmatud inimestest suurem osa puutus uuritaval perioodil kokku nelja riigi – Venemaa keisririigi, Eesti Vabariigi, Nõukogude Liidu ja Saksamaa – rahvuspoliitikaga. Nende põhimõtteliselt erineva rahvuspoliitikaga riikide käsitlemine võimaldab tuvastada rahvuse ühiskondliku tähenduse universaalseid jooni. Eesmärgi täitmiseks analüüsiti inimeste eluloolisi andmeid, seadusandlust ja rahvuspoliitikat puudutavat dokumentatsiooni ning ühiskondlikke olusid puudutavaid allikaid. Doktoritööst selgus, et üksikisikute rahvuskuuluvuse formaalne määramine osutus 20. sajandi esimesel poolel keeruliseks nii riikide kui ka inimeste jaoks, sest puudusid selged kriteeriumid viimaste rahvuspõhiseks kategoriseerimiseks, ühtsed arusaamad rahvuste olemusest ning takistav tegur oli ka mõlema poole pragmaatiliste kaalutluste domineerimine rahvuse määramisel. Mida suurem oli rahvuskuuluvuse formaalne tähtsus, seda enam olid üksikisikute valikud tingitud olukorrast ning märksa vähem nende harjumuspärasest keele- ja kultuurikeskkonnast. Seetõttu ei õnnestunud riikidel peaaegu kunagi soovitud määral rakendada essentsialistlikke ja objektiivsusele pretendeerinud rahvuse määramise kriteeriume, isegi kui see oli eesmärk ja taolisi põhimõtteid seadustega kehtestada püüti. Samuti ei olnud riigid objektiivsuse rakendamisel põhimõttelised ja järjekindlad, vaid kohandasid seisukohti vastavalt pragmaatilistele huvidele ning inimeste käitumisele. Üksikisikute valikutel oli riiklikele poliitikatele märkimisväärne mõju, ehkki arvuliselt oli muutliku ja ebamäärase rahvuskuuluvusega inimesi ühiskonnas marginaalselt. This dissertation focuses on the meaning of ethnicity in the relations between individuals and states in the first half of the 20th century using the biographical data of people who resettled from Estonia to Germany in 1941 as a sample. The aim of this study is to explain whether and how ethnopolitics of the states influenced the behaviour of individuals and vice versa – to what extent individual choices influenced state policy. Most people in the sample were affected by the ethnopolitics of four states: Russian Empire, Estonian Republic, Soviet Union, and Germany. Analysing the states with fundamentally different ethnopolitics enables to identify universal characteristics of the role of ethnicity in the society. To fulfil the aim, biographical data, legislation, and documentation about ethnopolitics as well as sources about the social conditions were analysed. The dissertation shows that fixing individuals’ ethnicity turned out to be difficult for both parties – the states and individuals – since there were no clear criteria for ethnic categorisation and no common understanding about the nature of ethnicity. Pragmatic considerations of both parties also turned out to be an obstacle. The more formal importance ethnicity had, the more individuals made choices dependent on the situation and not so much on their customary lingual and cultural environment. Therefore, the states almost always failed to implement essentialist and objective criteria in fixing individuals’ ethnicity in a desired manner, even if such criteria were their aim and established by law. Furthermore, the authorities of the states were neither principled nor consistent in applying objective criteria. The states had to adapt their stances to their own pragmatic interests and according to the behaviour of individuals instead. Thus, individual choices had a remarkable impact on ethnopolitics, although people with dynamic and vague ethnic identity formed a marginal group in the society. https://www.ester.ee/record=b5450809