publication . Article . 2013

Individuaalsed valikud ja sotsialiseerumine eluloojutustuste põhjal

Tiiu Jaago;
Open Access
  • Published: 21 Nov 2013 Journal: Mäetagused, volume 33, pages 83-100 (issn: 1406-992X, eissn: 1406-9938, Copyright policy)
  • Publisher: Estonian Literary Museum of Scholarly Press
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.
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free text keywords: Anthropology, Cultural Studies, biography, oral narrative history, social norms, Soviet period, Theology, Biography, History, lcsh:Ethnology. Social and cultural anthropology, lcsh:GN301-674
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