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The fact that all the informants live in an urban environment should be stressed. I am not aware of studies that have been made on Soviet fatherhood in rural areas, but I did interview a Russian-born colleague, 36 years, nowadays located at a university in Finland. I am aware of the problem of talking about things that happened thirty to fifty years ago. This was in contrast to other subjects that were up for discussion in our conversations. All the interviews started with me asking the men to talk about their life in retrospect.

Some topics they seemed to have recounted on several occasions. In my study, I interpret my sources by applying my overall knowledge of Soviet Russian society of the time and of public discourse in general, as well as of the discourse on marriage and family specifically.

Professor Polly Jones

I also approach the texts and structure them with the help of the theoretical concepts mentioned above, which I extracted from literature written in the last twenty-five years on European and North American masculinity and fatherhood in modern times. To get a better understanding of the degree to which the informants regarded themselves as having been present and involved fathers, we asked them about the division of labor in regard to child care and household chores.

A typical answer we got was that no specific division of labor had been practiced within the family. When we asked the men for more detail about who had done what at home, we got the expected answer that they had mended the electric wiring, taken care of plumbing and carpentry and various sorts of repairs. Cooking, cleaning, and laundry seem to have been mostly taken care of by the women. This might seem surprising at first, but at a second glance a rather simple explanation emerges: Soviet apartments were often equipped with wooden floors, often an old-fashioned and simple type of parquet floor with a porous surface.

The cleaning of the floors demanded the hard work of scrubbing and sometimes subsequent waxing. All through the s, they were expensive and rather difficult to get in the open consumer market.


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An answer that surprised me more was that the men had done quite a lot of shopping for the family. We got interesting insights into sometimes adventurous undertakings in a market landscape with scarce resources.

Geopolitical analysis 2017: East Europe

For example, in the city where we lived28 there was no furniture, but still, you had to search, to catch the moment. No big deal: Go solve the problem, we told ourselves. To get hold of things was like going hunting. According to time-budget studies from the s and s, Soviet Russian men in urban areas spent about half of the time that women did on household obligations. However, activities devoted to child care were more evenly distributed between the parents, in comparison to laundry, cooking, and housecleaning.

Some words on sources and methods

In literature on Western fatherhood and masculinity, we likewise find assertions that women at the time were in charge of the overall planning of household chores and child care, while men showed few signs of wanting to take the initiative in day-to-day activities in this area. When we talked to our informants about sharing household and child care duties, we often found that the grandmothers were included. Eight out of the eleven informants had lived together with members of the elder generation when the children were small.

Grandmothers played a prominent part in helping families in Soviet Russia with household work and child care. Conversations about being a present and involved father brought us to the topic of being emotionally involved. We asked the men about their recollections of emotions from the moment when their child or children were born. We were lying like that on the bed for half an hour or so. In the end, after having talked about intimate fatherly emotions, we had a mix of stories about remembered strong emotions when the first child was born on the one hand, and narratives about the need for a man to show a certain degree of emotional self-restraint towards children on the other.

In this connection, I tried to find advice that pointed to the risk of male violence within the family. When we talked about emotions towards children and various ways of being close to them, by playing with them or guiding them in professional or study choices, we sensed a wavering opinion on whether you should be an authority or a playful pal to your kids. Piotr Alexandrovich, who had children in the s, used to spend a lot of time with his sons when they were small, going fishing, playing with railway models, teaching them how to mend the electrical system at home, etc.

This was confirmed by one of his sons whom we talked to afterwards. Instead he stressed the guiding role of the father as the most important. Most of the informants said explicitly that they had been the leader of the family. None of them, however, connected being the head of the family with being the main breadwinner. On the question what the practice had been, how the informants had spent their time, it was obvious that a clear majority had been away from home more than their wives.

Most often, this fact was explained by the need to work. In our talks with the informants, we find they mostly cherished the ideal of a father being firmer in conduct with his children than the mother. He should avoid being too much of a pal and aim to be more of a moral guide. In research into Western fatherhood of the time, the idea of father as the pal in the family is more prominent.

However, whether the Soviet Russian fathers acted as head of the family is not clear. We could not really find this out in our interviews. We had plans to interview the mothers; this project, however, turned out to be impossible, for various reasons.

Ilya Vinitsky

The Russian sociologist Sergey Kukhterin, who has also interviewed fathers, claims it is obvious that the real head of family was the woman. To find out how practices and ideals of Soviet Russian fatherhood changed from the earlier Soviet times to the s and later, we decided to talk to our men about their memories of their own fathers.

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In their narratives, they often came back to how occupied the fathers had been by work. These answers fit well into the picture of earlier, postrevolutionary periods of Soviet Russia that I presented in the beginning of my essay. This was a society oriented towards collectivism rather than a private, nuclear family life. We then asked our informants if they could recollect feelings of grief at not having seen much of their fathers: Had they not longed for their dads to be there to spend time with them? In their answers, we could not detect feelings of loss.

Several of the informants told us they had chosen the same profession as their fathers. Here I analyze whether their efforts have been successful, and whether these concepts provide an effective means to unify within a single approach a set of immaterial relations between individuals and communities, between individuals and situations.

The purpose of such books, and of the authors and editors who write them, is to provide us, at the end of our journey through the gamut of emotions, with a consistent conceptual framework. One of the aims of this review is to examine the culmination of this process, beyond the rich insights of the works brought together here. The contrast among the articles in the four publications is large but also revealing. Geoffrey Hosking seeks to construct the concept of trust within a precise, highly evocative, political and cultural timeframe.

Similarly, Eugenia Belova and Valery Lazarev seek to materialize loyalty, or the production of loyalty, as far as possible by examining financial transfers and opportunities for promotion within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union CPSU ; they focus on the inner workings of an institution over the period of its [End Page ] existence. By contrast, the editors Jan Plamper, Schamma Schahadat, and Marc Elie, on the one hand, and Mark Steinberg and Valeria Sobol, on the other, have constructed their problems around themes that take place between the late 18th century and the late 20th century; their discussions revolve around community of feeling, education of taste Access options available:.

Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves. Niebzegowska and others, who studied oral dream book, paid no particular attention to the interpretation of emotions, because their main interest was about symbolic of visual images of dreams.

Table of Contents: Interpreting emotions in Russia and Eastern Europe /

Drawing on fieldwork conducted in the Poltava region, the author examines traditional patterns of interpretation emotional-laden dreams. Comparing these two groups we can make a conclusion, that the first case is not exclusively about emotion themselves: in the first place were interpreted the actions aimed at the expression of emotions laugh, crying, dancing and so on.

The dreams, which were interpreted literally, had been related to the notion of disturbing dreams. Shibboleth authentication is only available to registered institutions. Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies.