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Russia and Soul
Author: Dale Pesman

ISBN: 9780801487095
Format: Paperback
Number Of Pages: 384
Published: 16 September 2000
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.7 x 2.9
Description:
This ethnography of everyday life in contemporary Russia is also an examination of discourses and practices of "soul" or dusha. Russian soul has historically appeared as a myth, a consoling fiction, and a trope of national and individual self-definition that drew romantic foreigners to Russia. Dale Pesmen shows that in the 1990s this "soul" was scorned, worshipped, and used to create, manipulate, and exploit cultural capital. Pesmen focuses on "soul" in part as what people chose to do and how they did it, especially practices considered "definitive" of Russians, such as hospitality, the use of alcoholic beverages, steam baths, Russian language, music, and suffering. Attempting to avoid narrow definitions of soul as a thing, Pesmen developed a new way of structuring ethnographic interviews. During her stay in a formerly "closed" military industrial city and surrounding villages, Pesmen spent time on public transportation and in kitchens, steam baths, vegetable gardens, shops, and workplaces. She uses stories from her fieldwork along with examples from the media and literature to introduce a phenomenology of russkaia dusha and of ...

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