Accepted Paper:

has pdf download 'Wagon brothers, wagon sisters': symbolic and actual siblingship in a situation of life crisis   

Author:

Auksuole Cepaitiene (Lithuanian Institute of History)

Paper short abstract:

The paper discusses the ways in which people interact with each other in a life crisis situation (e.g. deportation), and what cultural and social things flow among them that bind them and transform their relationships to the closeness classified as sibling tie.

Paper long abstract:

The expression 'wagon brothers, wagon sisters' is taken from a popular song of Lithuanian deportees to Siberia during the Soviet era, and denotes a kind of solidarity maintained among the deportees.

The paper discusses the ways in which people understand and experience siblingship in its symbolic and in its actual sense. Drawing on ethnographic examples it analyses how family members and strangers interact with each other during and after a life crisis situation, what cultural and social issues bind them and transform their relationships into the closeness classified as sibling tie and how this closeness is practised after return from deportation. The paper suggests that the experience of life crisis, people's being together and sharing of physical and mental strategies of survival creates connections comparable to familial relationships. It also assumes that deportation, external to all deportees, is a kind of symbolic 'co-filiation', which reinforces equality, equivalence and horizontal order among them - features that are characteristic of sibling relationship.

Panel W067
Brother- and sisterhood in anthropological perspective