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Accepted Paper:

Estonian ethnologists under Soviet rule: consistency and accommodation  
Indrek Jääts (Estonian National Museum)

Paper short abstract:

Presentation looks at the ways Estonian ethnologists used to cope with the Soviet rule, at their strategies and practices of accommodation, yet maintaining earlier nationalist traditions of their discipline.

Paper long abstract:

How did Estonian ethnologists cope with the Soviet rule? What kind of strategies and practices did they use to adapt and survive, yet maintaining nationalist traditions of their discipline? The presentation based mainly on academic writings, fieldwork diaries and memories, seeks to put ethnologists´ activities into larger contexts of regional cultural history and historiography.

During the Soviet period (1944-1991), Estonian ethnology, formerly called ethnography and considered a branch of the Estonian studies, was subjected to the Soviet ethnography and its Marxist-Leninist doctrine. The Soviets took ethnography quite seriously in Stalin era and energetically imposed their ideological controls. However, when the hard-line rule relaxed in late 1950s, Estonian ethnography started to flow back into the old channel of Estonian studies.

Leading Soviet ethnographers promoted studying contemporary everyday life was since late 1940s. The results had to support state policies like collectivization of agriculture, industrialisation and related social change, but also Soviet nationalities policy. Estonian ethnographers did not like it much, as it was related to ideological pressure. Some attempts were made but the results remained scant. Instead, Estonian ethnographers preferred to limit oneself to traditional peasant culture of Estonians, but also their linguistic kinsmen in Russia. They cited works of Marx, Lenin and Stalin, but managed to remain quite conservative in terms of their research topics and methods. There were niches in Soviet ethnography making it possible. Soviet Estonian ethnography was shaped in a kind of hidden conflict between the Soviet regime and the nationally minded Estonian civil society.

Panel Disc04
Tracking knowledge. On the history of changing disciplinary identities after 1945 [SIEF Working Group Historical Approaches in Cultural Analysis] [P+R]
  Session 1 Monday 15 April, 2019, -