The Worlds of Russian Village Women: Tradition, Transgression, Compromise

4 avg rating
( 16 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780299290344: The Worlds of Russian Village Women: Tradition, Transgression, Compromise
View all copies of this ISBN edition:
 
 

Russian rural women have been depicted as victims of oppressive patriarchy, celebrated as symbols of inherent female strength, and extolled as the original source of a great world culture. Throughout the years of collectivization, industrialization, and World War II, women played major roles in the evolution of the Russian village. But how do they see themselves? What do their stories, songs, and customs reveal about their values, desires, and motivations?
    Based upon nearly three decades of fieldwork, from 1983 to 2010, The Worlds of Russian Rural Women follows three generations of Russian women and shows how they alternately preserve, discard, and rework the cultural traditions of their forebears to suit changing needs and self-conceptions. In a major contribution to the study of folklore, Laura J. Olson and Svetlana Adonyeva document the ways that women's tales of traditional practices associated with marriage, childbirth, and death reflect both upholding and transgression of social norms. Their romance songs, satirical ditties, and healing and harmful magic reveal the complexity of power relations in the Russian villages.

Table of Contents:
Introduction: Tradition, Transgression, Compromise
1 Traditions of Patriarchy and the Missing Female Voice in Russian Folklore Scholarship
2 Age and Gender Status and Identity: Structure and History
3 Subjectivity and the Relational Self in Russian Village Women's Stories of Courtship and Marriage
4 The Pleasure, Power, and Nostalgia of Melodrama: Twentieth-Century Singing Traditions and Women's Identity Construction
5 Transgression as Communicative Act: Rural Women's Chastushki
6 Magical Forces and the Symbolic Resources of Motherhood
7 Magic, Control, and Social Roles
8 Constructing Identity in Stories of the Other World
9 Death, the Dead, and Memory-Keepers
Conclusion

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

From the Author:

Laura Olson
When I began to study Russian village culture, I was a scholar of Russian studies, trained in literary analysis, with a strong interest in the cultural history and practice of folk singing in Eastern Europe (see Olson 2004, 7-12). I grew up in a cosmopolitan environment on the East Coast of the United States, where gender roles were discussed openly, feminist ideas of men's and women's equality were taken for granted among young intellectuals, and androgyny was a style practiced by many young people. By contrast with my home environment, in the Russian village the performance of gender appeared as an important organizing function of life. When I spent time there from 1995-2005, and walked into Russian village homes or walked down village streets, I noticed gender in how people organized themselves in space, what activities they did, how they responded to me, and how they dressed and presented themselves. Along with gender, age seemed to play a significant role in determining social relations. A few examples:
* A twenty-seven-year-old grandson, home for a visit to his grandmother, eats alone, in a separate room, and comes into the main room to sleep only when the other household members and visiting ethnographers, all women, are in bed.
* At a one-year anniversary memorial dinner for a deceased family member, elder women who conduct a religious service in the home eat first, separately from the family; the men are the last to be served.
* On the Thursday before Easter, women rake the graves at the family plot in the graveyard, and collect the leaves and garbage. Their husbands and brothers take the leaves away in baskets, and dump them in a pile just outside the graveyard.
* The Friday before Easter, a group of middle-aged women stand outside a village home, talking about dyeing eggs and making paskha (a sweetened ritual dish made of farmer's cheese and eggs), the price of seeds, the weather, and how burdensome it is to live with men. The men are inside and at one point accordion music can be heard emanating from the house. Someone looks inside and reports that two husbands are sitting side by side on the couch, playing accordions. The men emerge, and one of them says: "we'll get together tonight, right here, outside." The women are amused, but rebuff the men: "What are you saying, it's a sin" (to play music before the holiday).
    As these anecdotes show, and as I learned when I consulted contemporary published materials on gender in Russian village culture, men and women possess different spheres of activity. They inhabit distinct physical spaces and perform different functions in the home economy. In many homes, the man of the house has an area curtained off from the main living space, often near the door to the outside, where he can sleep or lounge. The place to find village men during the day (weather permitting) is outdoors: men spend time in outbuildings where they keep tools and do tasks such as making or fixing gear for their household responsibilities: cutting hay and wood, plowing, seeding, transportation, and so on. The woman of the house typically has her space near the oven: here she prepares food, washes dishes, and the like (Shchepanskaia 2005, 30). Men usually do not enter this space. In household social gatherings organized by and dominated by women, men will often sit at the periphery or may come and go. A proverb summarizes this gendered division of space: "A peasant man is not a thief in the forest, not a master at home" (Kholodnaia 2005a, 377). Although he may be master of the family, his wife organizes and manages the home. [. . . ]

Svetlana Adonyeva
I was educated at Saint Petersburg University, as a historian of Russian literature, folklorist, and literary theoretician. The method of folklore analysis I was taught was based on a structuralist typological analysis of textual variants: that is, we learned to categorize texts and account for their differences. Like all students, I went every year to collect folklore in the Russian village. It worried me greatly that what I read in libraries and heard in lectures did not match what I saw and heard in the field. The books I had read on folklore could not answer a single one of my simple questions: Why did people tell folktales? What meaning did they find there? What happens to them--and to me--when they sing? And finally, why do I sometimes feel very stupid next to an illiterate elder woman--and not want to leave her side? All these questions pushed me to look for new methodologies, to become acquainted with other disciplines (linguistics, psychology, sociology, anthropology), in order to change myself from a "collector of folklore" to a "participant-observer."
    One of my early experiences in the field helped me understand the important role of transgression and compromise within the folklore tradition. In some cases tradition itself forces people to refuse the tradition; individuals must then choose whether and in what way to follow tradition's dictates. In 1988 an expedition of the Saint Petersburg Folklore department worked in the southwest Belozersk region of Vologda oblast. The tradition we saw there differed considerably from the ones we had observed in other north Russian territories, in Arkhangel'sk oblast and in east Vologda. One of the differences was that the song tradition seemed weaker here. Our interlocutors responded to our requests for this or the other song, and confirmed their knowledge of them, but did not sing. They often explained their own refusal to sing with "Oi, girls, I've had so much grief--I don't sing," or explained the refusal of another woman to sing with "She is grieving." Folklorists in the Soviet Union were trained to interpret such data about reluctance to sing as a sign that the tradition was dying out. Trying not to jump to conclusions, we did not give up, but we did suppose that this was a polite way of refusing contact with strangers, until we received a fuller explanation. Women who did not sing were those who had buried someone they were close to. The period of cessation of singing after a loss did not have a fixed length; that kind of mourning was for life. We noticed that the prohibition against singing came from "outside," through social pressure. In 1998, in the Belozersk region of Vologda oblast, a woman born in 1926 told me: "I'd sit, I'd start crying and then suddenly I'd start singing. I would look through the window, to see if anyone heard me" (Maeksa, 7 July 1998 ([Bel 17a-35]). That is, the prohibition against singing while in mourning was a social rule that women followed especially when they believed or feared they were being observed. Such a social rule had become internalized, and individuals controlled their own public singing so as not to be publically censured; but they often sang anyway, if it was therapeutic for them. For me, this example was a lesson about transgression and the powerful effect of social censure in the community. [ . . . ]

About the Author:

Laura J. Olson is associate professor in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Svetlana Adonyeva is professor of folklore and theory of literature at St. Petersburg State University in Russia.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Laura J. Olson and Svetlana Adonyeva
Published by University of Chicago press
ISBN 10: 0299290344 ISBN 13: 9780299290344
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
INDOO
(Avenel, NJ, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University of Chicago press. Condition: New. Brand New. Seller Inventory # 0299290344

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 29.78
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.60
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

J. Olson, Laura; Adonyeva, Svetlana
Published by University of Wisconsin Press
ISBN 10: 0299290344 ISBN 13: 9780299290344
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Brats Bargain Books
(Waresboro, GA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University of Wisconsin Press. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 0299290344 New Book- Ships in 1 business day from my GA location!. Seller Inventory # SKU000048292

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 33.96
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 4.59
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Olson, Laura J
Published by Univ Wisconsin
ISBN 10: 0299290344 ISBN 13: 9780299290344
New Softcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Rating
[?]

Book Description Univ Wisconsin. Condition: BRAND NEW. BRAND NEW Softcover A Brand New Quality Book from a Full-Time Veteran Owned Bookshop in business since 1992!. Seller Inventory # 2695286

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 39.94
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Laura Olson, Svetlana Adonyeva
Published by University of Wisconsin Press, United States (2013)
ISBN 10: 0299290344 ISBN 13: 9780299290344
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Book Depository International
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University of Wisconsin Press, United States, 2013. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Russian rural women have been depicted as victims of oppressive patriarchy, celebrated as symbols of inherent female strength, and extolled as the original source of a great world culture. Throughout the years of collectivisation, industrialisation, and World War II, women played major roles in the evolution of the Russian village. But how do they see themselves? What do their stories, songs, and customs reveal about their values, desires, and motivations? Based upon nearly three decades of fieldwork, from 1983 to 2010, The Worlds of Russian Rural Women follows three generations of Russian women and shows how they alternately preserve, discard, and rework the cultural traditions of their forebears to suit changing needs and self-conceptions. In a major contribution to the study of folklore, Laura J. Olson and Svetlana Adonyeva document the ways that women s tales of traditional practices associated with marriage, childbirth, and death reflect both upholding and transgression of social norms. Their romance songs, satirical ditties, and healing and harmful magic reveal the complexity of power relations in the Russian villages. Seller Inventory # AAN9780299290344

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 44.55
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Laura Olson, Svetlana Adonyeva
Published by University of Wisconsin Press, United States (2013)
ISBN 10: 0299290344 ISBN 13: 9780299290344
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
The Book Depository
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University of Wisconsin Press, United States, 2013. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Russian rural women have been depicted as victims of oppressive patriarchy, celebrated as symbols of inherent female strength, and extolled as the original source of a great world culture. Throughout the years of collectivisation, industrialisation, and World War II, women played major roles in the evolution of the Russian village. But how do they see themselves? What do their stories, songs, and customs reveal about their values, desires, and motivations? Based upon nearly three decades of fieldwork, from 1983 to 2010, The Worlds of Russian Rural Women follows three generations of Russian women and shows how they alternately preserve, discard, and rework the cultural traditions of their forebears to suit changing needs and self-conceptions. In a major contribution to the study of folklore, Laura J. Olson and Svetlana Adonyeva document the ways that women s tales of traditional practices associated with marriage, childbirth, and death reflect both upholding and transgression of social norms. Their romance songs, satirical ditties, and healing and harmful magic reveal the complexity of power relations in the Russian villages. Seller Inventory # AAN9780299290344

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 46.20
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Laura Olson
Published by University of Wisconsin Press
ISBN 10: 0299290344 ISBN 13: 9780299290344
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
THE SAINT BOOKSTORE
(Southport, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University of Wisconsin Press. Paperback. Condition: New. New copy - Usually dispatched within 2 working days. Seller Inventory # B9780299290344

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 39.99
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 9.20
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Olson, Laura J.
Published by University of Wisconsin Press (2013)
ISBN 10: 0299290344 ISBN 13: 9780299290344
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Books2Anywhere
(Fairford, GLOS, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University of Wisconsin Press, 2013. PAP. Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from UK in 4 to 14 days. Established seller since 2000. Seller Inventory # CE-9780299290344

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 44.07
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 11.94
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

Laura, Olson J./ Adonyeva, Svetlana
Published by Univ of Wisconsin Pr (2013)
ISBN 10: 0299290344 ISBN 13: 9780299290344
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Revaluation Books
(Exeter, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Univ of Wisconsin Pr, 2013. Paperback. Condition: Brand New. 1st edition. 368 pages. 9.50x7.00x1.00 inches. In Stock. Seller Inventory # __0299290344

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 54.90
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 9.95
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

J. Olson, Laura, Adonyeva, Svetlana
Published by University of Wisconsin Press (2013)
ISBN 10: 0299290344 ISBN 13: 9780299290344
New Paperback Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University of Wisconsin Press, 2013. Paperback. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110299290344

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 75.66
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds