Creating 'Russianness' in the UK
In her book, ‘Material Cultures, Migrations, and Identities’, Anna Pechurina, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Leeds Beckett, and a Russian migrant herself, analyses the ways in which Russian-speaking migrants have set up their new homes abroad using material possessions from their Russian motherland to link people, places and memories together.
Anna said: “I think that home is important for anyone. In some way or another we all move homes, whether it is from the parents’ home, to get married or have children - the concept of moving is constantly there. The world around us is always moving; old friends, new friends, new experiences and cultural influences - the idea of home becomes quite central and important for all of us. Even more so, because we live in the age of migration, there is a lot of physical movement; on the one hand it confuses cultures but on the other it mixes things up.
“There will always be something that will help you keep your integrity and your identity and it can be linked to personal things that you are familiar with and feel comfortable with, but very often it is things that are particular to your culture. For anyone it is important to have a home and this is why I want to study this idea because there are so many different cultures and communities, it could be useful to understand what they treat as a home and how they use it.”
Anna’s research methods include interviews at home, sensory methods and visual research which she terms ‘participatory visual home ethnography’. It is structured around a series of case studies on attitudes to homemaking, food and cooking, and clothing, Anna added: “This research was specifically focused on understanding the home and how I could research culture through the home. Home is not just objects, it is the meaning of objects and the atmosphere they create. Through things that people bring, clothes that they wear and what they eat, a combination or absence of them create a home.”
To celebrate the book launch on Wednesday 7 October, Anna will host a free illustrated introductory talk at Leeds Beckett’s Broadcasting Place building, from 15.00-16.30pm, entitled ‘Be my houseguests’ featuring images of rural Russian homes and Siberian landscapes. Anna said: “I want to talk about what Russianness is and about Russian culture. It will be an informal presentation, including Russian biscuits and sweets to reflect Russian hospitality like my grandmother used to offer - I doubt the audience will have experienced this side of Russia.”
‘Material Cultures, Migrations, and Identities’ is published by Palgrave Macmillan. A special introductory offer of 30% discount is available until 31 December. To redeem go to www.palgrave.com and quote PM15THIRTY.
We have one copy of the book to give away. Details of how to win will be posted on social media to coincide with the book launch on 7 October.
For further details of the book and Anna Pechurina go to www.annapechurina.com