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.
Life Stories of Women in Iakutiia
Lilia Vinokurova and Sardana Boiakova
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.
The Social Life of Dream Stories within the Hizmet-AKP Conflict in Turkey
Building on ethnographic fieldwork in Istanbul in 2015, this article traces how certain people within the Hizmet community drew on dream stories to understand and manoeuvre within the escalating falling-out with the AKP government. It suggests that, in this context, dream stories were circulated within the community to reframe the conflict against the horizon of the afterlife but prevented from spilling into the wider public sphere out of fear that Hizmet critics would use dream stories to denounce the community as a threat to Turkish republican tradition. The article thus proposes to see the social life of dream stories as a ‘politics from below’ through which relations between the religious and the political refracted and notions of national and religious belonging were negotiated and contested.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Withheld Stories and the Limits of Ethnographic Knowability
How to write about survival? How to tell survival? By exploring manifold reasons to withhold a story, I shed light on the limits of ethnographic knowledge production and the politics of storytelling that mobilize one story and silence another. Through engaging with the fragmented narrative of a Moroccan survivor of a shipwreck in Spanish waters in 2003, I reconceptualize the movement called “migration as survival” by theorizing it as an ethnographic concept. I explore the different temporalities of survival as living through a life-threatening event and as living on in an unjust world. These interrelated temporalities of survival are embedded in the afterlife of the historical time of al-Andalus and the resurgent fear of the Muslim “Other.” By suggesting an existentially informed political understanding of the survival story, I show how the singularity of the survivor is inscribed in a regime of mobility that constrains people and their stories.