Self-identification of women in the late 19th – early 20th centuries: an analysi...

Self-identification of women in the late 19th – early 20th centuries: an analysis of ego-documents

Irina V. Sinova
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The article examines narratives as a historical source and a unique form of information not only about the personality of the author but also about their special individual view on events, facts, people, and their actions. The study demonstrates that by means of assessing and evaluating the events described for compliance with their own ideals, the heroes of biographies transform themselves and their surroundings not so much into an object of narrative proper as into an object of analysis. At the same time, self-identification of the authors of women’s ego-documents is a specific form of attitude towards self, which is reflected in the assessments of everyday life and the characteristics of social reality. Memoirs are a representative source, with the help of which it is possible to retrace self-identification of the authors, i.e. to establish the identity of a person with any social community according to a set of features by means of their comparative study. On the basis of concrete examples, it is shown that self-identification of an individual in narratives largely reflects the features of the development of society as a whole and its problems. Comparative analysis of the memoirs of M. Bock, M. Kschessinska, M. Klyucheva, A. Ostroumova-Lebedeva, and M. Tenisheva, made it possible to consider the issues of self-identification based on gender, social status, level of material wealth, professional and social activities, and the attitude to social reality, including the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05 and the Russian Revolution of 1905–07. The memoirs under analysis indicate that the priorities identified in the narration of the events of the memoirists’ lives are largely a reflection of their gender identity and also demonstrate a gradual expansion of the scope of women’s activities and the perception of this trend by society. The memoirists appear as independent, mature personalities, whose self-identification has common and specific features. The latter, among other things, being dependent on mentality and life priorities, determine the means to achieve the goals.
Irina V. Sinova
Doctor of Historical Sciences, Associate Professor
Saint Petersburg State University of Economics
Saint Petersburg, Russia
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self-identification, self-esteem, women’s ego documents, gender, memoirs, narrative sources, social reality, professional and social activities
For citation:
Sinova, I.V. “Self-identification of women in the late 19th – early 20th centuries: an analysis of ego-documents”. Historia provinciae – the Journal of Regional History, vol. 6, no. 1 (2022): 164–210,

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