The heuristic value of autobiographies for gender studies: comparing the theoretical results of Russian and foreign studies

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Abstract


Heuristic value of autobiographies for specialists in gender and female studies (based on the comparison of theoretical results of Russian and international autobiographical studies). The article discusses the qualitative changes in the study of autobiographies in historical works. The author focuses on the importance of gender studies in the field of complex relations between various approaches, including the philosophical, psychological, and linguistic way of analyzing life histories, in general, and women’s autobiographies, in particular (which comprises using the theory of female writing created by French feminist philosophers), as well as old and recent literature in the field of autobiographical research. The gender approach to the analysis of documents makes it possible to conclude that men report less about their family and private life and tend to give this life a different meaning and place in the system of value hierarchies. The second conclusion when comparing male and female autobiographies is the individualized and independent representation of the ego in life stories. Analysts point out that when collecting material about men’s lives, it is the gender of the story collector that is important. When talking to a female interviewer, the narrator presents the same life events in a different way than to male interviewer. When reading an egotext, a male analyst immediately forms a male community and, at the same time, hierarchies typical of relations between men. Keywords: autobiography, women, gender, gender history, history methodology, biographi- cal research, memory psychology, historiography


About the authors

Natalia L Pushkareva

N.N. Miklukho-Maklai Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology

Author for correspondence.
Email: pushkarev@mail.ru
32 a, Leninsky Prospect, Moscow, 119334, Russia

Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor, Нead of the sector of ethniс and gender studies, N.N. Miklukho-Maklay Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, President of the Russian Association for the Study of Women’s History (RAIZHI).

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