Tag Archives | Estonia

Rethinking the Technophobia of Old Believers

Kriistina Pilvet (EHI, Tallinn Univ.)

This posting deals with the Old Believer’s congregation of Piirissaare — a little island situated in lake Peipus which makes up part of the Russian-Estonian border. The main focus of this case study is the interaction of their identity and the modern technology they use in order to perform their culture in the peripheral region of one of Europe’s more avant-garde ICT countries.

Normative discourse on Old Believers, especially in Estonia, has often presumed some insularity, un-moderness and technophobic behaviour from the representatives of the given congregation. This narrative is so embedded in the representation of Old Believer’s that it has become a ‘norm’. Several different sources starting from academic publications in anthropology (Dolitsky & Kuzmina 1986; Vorontsova 2000; Filatova ; Ziolkowska 2011) and ending with different travel agency brochures and web sites (www.puhkaeestis.ee, www.estravel.ee) as well as ethnographic films (Brummend 2011) tend to associate Old Believers with traditionalism and a restrained way of life.…

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Toying with Gender Stereotypes in Estonia

Sirli Peeduli (Tallinn University)

Typical Soviet toys

As I grew older, a certain indisposition about imposed gender roles stayed within me. Probably for that reason I did not pay much attention in our homemaking (home economics) class in elementary school. I wanted to take the woodwork class with the boys. I know for certain that many girls felt exactly the same way.

Naffziger & Naffziger (1974: 255) confirm that “the institution of the school helps to reinforce stereotypes”. They explain that some classes are still sex-segregated, for instance physical education, home economics and woodwork classes. They bring out, that while physical eduction for boys is about competitive team sports and physical activity then for girls it is about docility and proper posture. From my own school years I remember that physical education was not so sex-segregated, the activities of boys and girls were relatively similar.

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