Gender, Generation and Identity in Contemporary Russia

Gender, Generation and Identity in Contemporary Russia

Gender, Generation and Identity in Contemporary Russia

Gender, Generation and Identity in Contemporary Russia

Synopsis

This book explores the lives and expectations of young women in the new Russia, looking at the enormous changes that the new social and economic environment have brought. The authors draw on the growing literature on gender and generation in the West which has arisen as a result of the recognition that the experience of youth is classed, raced and gendered and that the experience of gender is mediated by class, race, ethnicity, sexuality and age. They consider the role of the media, state and social institutions in shaping opportunities and experiences in the post-Soviet environment, focusing on the strategies employed by individual women to reforge social identities in a society in which they have been dislocated more acutely than in any other `postmodern' society.

Excerpt

Hilary Pilkington

WHY GENDER? WHY IDENTITY?

There is a growing literature on gender and generation in the West that has arisen as a result of the recognition that the experience of youth is classed, raced and gendered and the experience of gender is mediated by class, race, ethnicity, sexuality and age. The commitment to exploring ‘difference and diversity’ is very real and in the area of youth studies these themes have replaced the notion of ‘resistance’ amongst those researchers seeking to challenge the discourses of deviance, disaffection, consumption and dependence which have dominated the mainstream debate (Griffin 1993:199-200). Both radical and mainstream discourses have traditionally been rooted in perceived truisms about the alienating experience of modern societies. But simple resolutions of this modern condition (via class, ethnic or national consciousness) appear increasingly problematic. This is why the notion of ‘identity’ is important, since it is at the level of individual identity formation and reformation that the negotiation between different socio-cultural identities takes place. There is, in the times we live in, no collective social identity birthright; rather, identities of gender, generation, sexuality, class, race, ethnicity and religion are constructed in time and space.

WHY GENERATION?

Age has never been accepted as a macro social category of the significance of class, race and gender. Nevertheless, renegotiations of identity through the life-cycle are significant. For many this may conjure up a single image: of the transition from childhood to adulthood, the infamous ‘adolescent’ frustrated by inadequacies and intermediary positions. There are, however, many other moments in

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