Leisure and Recreation in the Socio-Cultural Memory of Urban Women in the 1950 and 1960s Based on Materials from Volgograd

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The article examines everyday practices of rest and leisure among urban women living in the city of Volgograd (Stalingrad) - a city that had been completely destroyed during the war. The goal of the present study is to identify specific characteristics in the everyday practices of women. The methodology combines comparative historical, biographical and aggregate methods. Interviews conducted along the empathy method made it possible to identify the sensual and emotional sides of the respondents' lives. The research is based on ego-documents (diaries, oral history), periodicals (magazines, newspapers), and statistics. The article discusses the concepts of free time and rest as preserved in the memory of townspeople, and also private and public forms of leisure. A major finding is that women's memory and texts reveal sensory and emotional experiences that can be used for the history of everyday life. This allows for an imagination of everyday life from a new angle. Domestic work took away the vast majority of women's free time, and given the cultural potential of the region was still underdeveloped, most city dwellers concentrated pastime activities on their homes. However, with the high workload of women at home and at work, it was leisure outside the home that remained one of the few ways for women to relax and recover from mental and physical stress. The everyday life of urban women in the 1950s and 1960s was characterized by a division of leisure in private and public forms.

About the authors

Irina V. Bogdashina

Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, RAS

Author for correspondence.
Email: ira18bogdashina@mail.ru

graduate student

Leninsky Pr. 32A, Moscow, 119334, Russia


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