Elore 2/2004, 11. vuosikerta
Julkaisija: Suomen Kansantietouden Tutkijain Seura ry., Joensuu
ISSN 1456-3010, URL: http://cc.joensuu.fi/~loristi/2_04/abs204.html
E-mail: loristi@cc.joensuu.fi

Abstracts of refereed articles

Vernacularism, literature and competing articulations of meaning in Soviet Karelia

Tuulikki Kurki

My article is a study of Finnish literary activities in Soviet Karelia. I analyze what kinds of meanings were ascribed to the descriptions of localities, folk poetry and oral tradition in the literary discussions in Soviet Karelia from the late 1950s to the 1970s. I also examine the descriptions and interpretations of folk and local traditions that were politically or ideologically authorized and those that were suppressed. Theoretically, this article is connected to the discussion of power relations that exist in writing about people, tradition, and localities.

The research material includes prose published in Finnish, the Communist Party’s literary programs, literary reviews and theoretical articles published in literary journals. It also includes materials from the National Archive of the Republic of Karelia.

The literary descriptions of folklore and locality appear as areas of competing articulations of meaning. In the literary discussions they were connected to the writers’ own era, the changing present and the ideologically relevant Soviet history. They were also representations of Karelia’s past, its heritage, and local history, all of which were regarded as “inappropriate” interpretations of locality.

Transformations and invisible linkages. Birth-related restrictions among the Yine of Eastern Peru

Minna Opas

This article discusses pre- and post-natal rituals and restrictions among the Yine of Peruvian Amazonia. The observations are based on my fieldwork in one Yine community in Eastern Peru in the years 2000 and 2003. The article illustrates how birth-related restrictions adhered to by Yine parents correspond to wider cosmological principles that are manifested in other spheres of their life as well. These cosmological principles are approached from the point of view of Amerindian perspectivism. The two main principles highlighted here are transformation and mutation and that of linkages between persons and different items or objects. Transformations may take place not only in the context of birth but also in the interaction with different spiritual or corporeal beings. In a similar manner, linkages through which different subjects or objects affect each other may form not only between parents and children but also e.g. between hunter and his equipment, or a person and his clothes or other belongings.

Gendered embodiment, purity and impurity in the Finnish Hare Krishna movement

Johanna Ahonen

This article examines gender and the representations of women in the Hare Krishna movement. I concentrate on embodiment, sexuality and gendered themes of purity and impurity. The primary research material consists of interviews with five committed Finnish female members and a period of participant-observation in the Hare Krishna community. The article also includes analysis of the movement’s religious texts.

Drawing from poststructuralists Michel Foucault and Judith Butler, my work approaches the body as discursively constructed and connected to power. From Butler’s viewpoint I examine gender as a performative and embodied style. Thus, in context of the Finnish Krishna movement I ask how gender differences and certain kinds of religious, gendered and sexualized subjects are produced and how the appropriate female body is constructed. An interesting problem for theorizing gender vis-à-vis the Hare Krishna movement is the intense yearning to transcend the body. The strong dualism (spiritual/physical) in the Krishna movement is also worthy of consideration, since the physical body is an inevitable instrument in all the activities of a Krishna worshipper’s spiritual life.

Repetition and variation in autobiographical writing

Anna Hynninen

In this article, I explore the research possibilities for analyzing repetition and variation in autobiographical writing. My research material consists of a Karelian woman Maria’s biographical writings. Maria has written about her life for over twenty years to the Folklore Archives of the Finnish Literature Society and to the Archives of The National Board of Antiquities. She has written four autobiographies and there are striking variations from text to text. Here, I approach Maria’s repeated and varying autobiographical writing with the theory of performativity (identity and differences are performatively constituted in narration) and analyze intersectionality (an approach, which provides a conceptual frame for analyzing different social positions – gender, class, race, sexuality – and particularly the way those differences influence and constitute each other). In the article, I suggest three viewpoints of autobiographical narration which can be captured by reading one writer’s repetitive and varying narration. Firstly, narration is always bound to context. Secondly, the narrating subject is always diversified. And thirdly, reading several varying texts by one writer allows the researcher to perceive expressions of the writer’s agency.

The Maid, the Heavenly Bird and the Agitator. Three representations of woman and religion in the Lohja-series by Eeva Joenpelto

Tiina Mahlamäki

In this article I describe how the relationships between women and religion are represented in a set of books by Eeva Joenpelto. The Lohja-series, whose name comes from the story’s milieu, is made up of four novels published in the 1970s. It describes a village in southern Finland during the 1920s and 1930s, i.e. the period between the two wars, the Civil War and the Winter War. From the novels, I take three female characters who represent different gendered presentations of religion. Mari, the faithful servant of God, derives her strength from Lutheranism, and thus endures the hard and endless daily grind in the kitchen. Sofi is a childlike bride of Christ who finds her place in the Pentacostal movement and expresses her religion in charismatic and passionate ways. Tilta is an agitator who has found her life’s meaning in the Communist Party. My questions are the following: What kinds of possibilities for religious expression and fulfillment are available to women in the Lutheran Church and the Pentacostal movement? What is the place of religion in women’s every-day life? How do women outline the categories of sacred and profane, of purity and impurity, or do they combine them? How does a commitment to political ideology offer a woman a meaning system analogical to religion?