Title:
Discontinuity and Continuity in Representations of 20th Century Estonian History
Author:
Tiiu Jaago: University of Tartu, Estonia
DOI:
10.3384/cu.2000.1525.1461071
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Year:
2014
Volume:
6
Theme:

Part 1: Writing territory and space at borderlands

Pages:
1071-1094
No. of pages:
24
Publication type:
Introduction
Published:
2014-12-15


The theme of this article is how Estonians have described political changes in their autobiographical narratives. The discussion is based on the observation that the establishment of Soviet rule in Estonia in the 1940s is construed in the studies of life stories, on the one hand, as a discontinuity of ‘normal life’, and on the other hand, as continuity. It is remarkable that irrespective of the demarcation of state borders by political decisions, Estonian territory is still perceived as a single and eternal whole. To what extent is the perception of discontinuity or continuity related to experiencing political change and to what extent is it related to the method of narration, and to what extent does it depend on the choices made by the researcher? An analysis of the three life histories discussed in the article indicates that experiencing discontinuity or continuity in a specific historical context does not coincide with its depiction in life histories. The texts reflect both the diversity of narrative methods (coherent representation of different layers of recollections, the comparison and contrast of different situations, etc.), and the context of narratives – for example the interviewer’s effect on discussing a topic or the relation of a story to publicly discussed topics. Recollections are characterised by variability, however this may not become evident as studies focus on certain aspects of the narrative or interrelations of the topic and public discourses. The polysemic and ambivalent nature of the ‘border’ unfolds through the entangled interplay of territorial, political and cultural borders, their narrative articulation in life story telling as well as researchers’ choices.

Keywords: Cultural border; cultural continuity and discontinuity; cultural self-description; life story; the Soviet period

Volume 6, Theme::

Part 1: Writing territory and space at borderlands

, Article 60, 2014
Author:
Tiiu Jaago
Title:
Discontinuity and Continuity in Representations of 20th Century Estonian History:
DOI:
10.3384/cu.2000.1525.1461071
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