Kabatskov A. N. Images of war according to the diaries of Alexander Dmitriev, 1942–1944 (.pdf)


The paper reconstructs social images of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 on the basis of “the war diaries” of Alexander Dmitriev (1918-2005) who was a worker of the Stalin aircraft engine plant № 19 in Molotov in 1941-1945. The author highlights the issue of heuristic potential of ego-documents on the basis of phenomenological tradition of studying everyday life (A. Schutz, P. Berger, and T. Lukman) with using Carlo Ginsburg's method of interpretating “evidences”. The author considers Dmitriev's diaries as a special “historical evidence” that gives an opportunity to look at the reality of war through the eyes of workers. The author proves that the power discourse of the war as a catastrophe that defined the emergency order of life, was privatized by the worker Dmitriev and was subordinate to an individualized strategy of “survival”. For a description of the individualized set of rules and social order of actions, the author introduces the category of a “private war”. In the analysis of Dmitriev's deviant behavior, one may find the collective nature of conducting a “private war” by the workers. Dmitriev and his colleagues adapted to wartime, constantly breaking the rules and regulations. The observed differences between the official and private spheres of rules and regulations allow to speak about the new strategies for implementing their own “self” constructed by the Soviet workers that have become an alternative to the official self-identity system during the war.


Key words: ego-documents, ideology and Stalinism, the Soviet socialization, the war “behind the lines”, workers, “private war”, social deviation, plant, urban culture.


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