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In Search of Job and Partner

Life Stories of Women in Iakutiia

Lilia Vinokurova and Sardana Boiakova

The article presents an interpretation of the life stories of indigenous women in Iakutiia. Individual biographies of several women are analyzed with the focus on the agency of indigenous women in contemporary Russian reality. The article argues that the economic crisis in Russia and its social consequences are reasons for women to make the choice for action. The contemporary portrait of indigenous women is juxtaposed with the traditional values and image of women that assists in their ability to get through challenges of time and adapt to the demands of the contemporary period.

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Children Born of War

A European Research Network Exploring the Life Histories of a Hidden Population

Kimberley Anderson and Sophie Roupetz

Through the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, the research and training network Children Born of War (CHIBOW) seeks to explore the lives of children born to local mothers and fathered by enemy soldiers, occupying forces, and locally stationed and peacekeeping forces during conflicts of the past one hundred years. Born both through mutually consenting “love relationships” and from rape, children born of war are a hidden population, relatively understudied and seldom spoken about in public spheres. Fifteen early career researchers at eleven academic institutes across Europe will address this topic from a multidisciplinary perspective. This training network will act as a platform to share the life stories of people affected by war in the most profound ways and to alleviate some of the silence surrounding their experiences.

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Narratives of Ambivalence

The Ethics of Vulnerability and Agency in Research with Girls in the Sex Trade

Alexandra Ricard-Guay and Myriam Denov

In this article, we examine the ethical realities that emerged from a qualitative study with adolescent girls on sexual exploitation. We outline and articulate the importance of moving beyond the inclusion of girls’ voices in research to discussing the ethical and practical implications of doing so. We consider the notions of power, victimization, and agency and highlight the ethical dilemma of doing research with girls in the sex trade, particularly in a context in which participants’ narratives are characterized by profound ambivalence, as seen in their frequent oscillation between narratives of victimization on the one hand, and of agency and power on the other. The nexus between girlhood studies and ethics provides us with a valuable opportunity to analyze, and thus highlight, the importance of social context in understanding these adolescent girls’ narratives and self-representations.

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Mary Beth Oliver and Tilo Hartmann

This article extends current theorizing in media psychology on audience responses to cinema by examining individuals' perceptions of meaningfulness. Specifically, it presents the results of a study designed to expand upon research on psychological and subjective well-being to experiences and memories of films that are perceived as particularly meaningful by viewers. Characteristics and themes of such films are examined and identified, as well as the specific emotional responses that accompany perceptions of meaningful cinema.

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Mika Suzuki

This article explores one of Jane Austen's narrative techniques, focusing on her characters' telling of and writing on their past. To incorporate events that characters experienced at different times or locations, she uses life stories constructed by an individual told in the first person. She relies on the characters' subjective telling of their own life stories at crucial points in the plot, rather than leaving the description to the omniscient narrator. In so doing, she provides fresh ways of reading; she enables the reader to get involved in the narrative by sharing an individual's life story and at the same time she ensures that the reader places the character's narrative at some distance. Her use of this method of stories allows her to follow and develop literary tradition. Inheriting the tradition of the letter-writing generations, she provides a new use of life-story telling and a new way of reading them.

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Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild

Melanie Ilic, Life Stories of Soviet Women: The Interwar Generation

Marianna Muravyeva and Natalia Novikova, eds., Women’s History in Russia: (Re)Establishing the Field

Francesca Stella, Lesbian Lives in Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia

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Leslie Paul Thiele and Marshall Young

Practical judgment can be developed from a wide variety of life experiences upon one condition: the experiences in question are made meaningful through stories. By placing lived experience in narrative form one gains a flexible guide for action. Calculative analysis may usefully supplement, but cannot supplant, narrative knowledge for the decision-maker grappling with the ‘wicked problems’ of social and political life. There is no obvious, or perhaps even feasible, way to determine what constitutes the kind of story that will improve practical judgment and allow for better decisions. It is less the content of stories that requires attention than the process of narrative inquiry, interaction and understanding.

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Unruly Experts

Methods and Forms of Collaboration in the Anthropology of Public Policy

Tara Schwegler and Michael G. Powell

We never seek out frustration, but it almost always finds us. Seasoned field researchers, anthropologists pride themselves on their ability to handle life’s curve balls, from visa problems to cultural misunderstandings to difficulties in gaining access to informants. These curve balls go hand in hand with the home runs: all are moments in fieldwork, wherever, however, and among whomever conducted, and each moment has a story.

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Carolyn Podruchny

This article compares the trickster stories of Anishinaabeg (Ojibwes) and Ininiw (Cree) people, specifically the Swampy Cree or Omushkegowak, in northern Canada. Focusing on one storyteller from each culture—Omushkego Louis Bird from the west coast of James Bay and Anishinaabe William Berens from the east coast of Lake Winnipeg—the article demonstrates that the long-term practice of telling sacred stories taught Indigenous peoples how to survive and thrive in their harsh environments. Although Omushkego stories highlight the importance of individual resourcefulness for survival, stories from both cultures emphasize that people should live together in communities to achieve the best life. The article also emphasizes the importance of appreciating local distinctiveness, listening carefully to Indigenous voices, and seeking guidance from Indigenous people.

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John Bendix

Alexander von Plato, Almut Leh and Christopher Thonfeld, eds., Hitler’s

Slaves: Life Stories of Forced Labourers in Nazi-Occupied Europe (New York:

Berghahn Books, 2010)

Frank Biess and Robert Moeller, eds., Histories of the Aftermath: The Legacies

of the Second World War in Europe (New York: Berghahn Books, 2010)