Rakhmanova L. Ia. Intimate Spaces for Body and Soul in the Village: Awkwardness, Embarrassment and Shame as a Part of the Participant Observation

Lidia Ia. Rakhmanova
State Hermitage Museum
Saint Petersburg, Russia 

E-mail: muza-spb@yandex.ru


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ABSTRACT. The article deals with various physical and symbolic spaces, which are the fields of interaction and communication of local residents and researchers participating in their daily life. These spaces are of different nature and they are addressed with different periodicity, they have physical boundaries or special situational dimensions, but all of them have one thing in common: a sense of embarrassment and awkwardness when a space becomes shared. The author analyzes different modes of the intimate manifested in different ways at the izba, the church, the shop, in the street and in taiga. Thus it is possible to identify not only stable intimate zones in terms of location and time of functioning, but also to single out intimate spaces, “flickering” in time, changing their position in space, conventional spaces, defined on the basis of agreement, intently delineated intimate spaces, as well as intimate spaces integrated into the public environment manifested in a situational manner. A researcher can become a part of these intimate spaces freely and involuntarily: one can “enter” them via involving in everyday life practices, through personal conversation, interviews, participation in festive activities or fishing; via communication with children; visiting a bar or attending a church service. But how to “get out” of these spaces without destroying or damaging anything, taking into account the vulnerability and openness of informants in these situations? 

KEYWORDS: anthropology of space, participant observation, awkwardness, shame, symbolic boundaries, vulnerability, openness, intimate spaces 

УДК 39
DOI 10.31250/2618-8619-2018-2-12-19



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