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FB-57514-14
A Siege Mentality: Practices and Politics of Surviving War in the Blockade of Leningrad
Jeffrey Hass, University of Richmond

Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=FB-57514-14

Anchors, Habitus, and Practices Besieged by War: Women and Gender in the Blockade of Leningrad (Article)
Title: Anchors, Habitus, and Practices Besieged by War: Women and Gender in the Blockade of Leningrad
Author: Jeffrey K. Hass
Abstract: As war challenges survival and social relations, how do actors alter and adapt dispositions and practices? To explore this question, I investigate women’s perceptions of normal relations, practices, status, and gendered self in an intense situation of wartime survival, the Blockade of Leningrad (1941–1944), an 872-day ordeal that demographically feminized the city. Using Blockade diaries for data on everyday life, perceptions, and practices, I show how women’s gendered skills and habits of breadseeking and caregiving (finding scarce resources and providing aid) were key to survival and helped elevate their sense of status. Yet this did not entice rethinking “gender.” To explore status elevation and gender entrenchment, I build on Bourdieu’s theory of habitus and fields to develop anchors: field entities with valence around which actors orient identities and practices. Anchors provide support for preexisting habitus and practices, and filter perceptions from new positions vis-a-vis fields and concrete relations. Essentialist identities and practices were reinforced through two processes involving anchors. New status was linked to “women’s work” that aided survival of anchors (close others, but also factories and the city), reinforcing acceptance of gender positions. Women perceived that challenging gender relations and statuses could risk well-being of anchors, reconstructing gender essentialism.
Year: 2017
Primary URL: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/socf.12329
Primary URL Description: Link to article on journal
Secondary URL: 10.1111/socf.12329
Secondary URL Description: DOI
Access Model: Subscription
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Sociological Forum
Publisher: Sociological Forum

War, fields, and competing economies of death. Lessons from the Blockade of Leningrad (Article)
Title: War, fields, and competing economies of death. Lessons from the Blockade of Leningrad
Author: Jeffrey K. Hass
Abstract: War can create a massive amount of death while also straining the capacity of states and civilians to cope with disposing of the dead. This paper argues that such moments exacerbate contradictions between three fields and ‘‘economies’’ (logics of interaction and exchange) – a political, market, and moral economy of disposal – in which order and control, commodification and opportunism, and dignity are core logics. Each logic and economy, operating in its own field, provides an interpretation of the dead that emerges from field logics of normal organization, status, and meanings of subjects (as legal entities, partners in negotiation, and subjects with biographies and dignity). Using the case of the Blockade of Leningrad, with its massive amount of civilian death, this essay examines how local authorities followed an expedient logic to maintain order; how state workers charged with disposal followed an instrumental logic of gain; and how civilians tried to maintain a logic of dignity but were forced by desperation to act contingently and instrumentally. The analysis suggests a broader application of field theory beyond organizational communities; how culture in fields operates via entities of valence (anchors); and the need to make emotions and social distance clearer in frameworks of fields, culture, and practice.
Year: 2015
Primary URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0304422X14000813?via%3Dihub
Primary URL Description: Journal site for article
Secondary URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.poetic.2014.12.003
Secondary URL Description: DOI
Access Model: Subscription
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Poetics
Publisher: Poetics

Resilience of the Simple? Lessons about Order from the Blockade of Leningrad (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: Resilience of the Simple? Lessons about Order from the Blockade of Leningrad
Abstract: What holds things together and pushes things apart when a community is under extreme duress--in my case, the duress of the violence of war and military blockade, with accompanying urban famine. I argue that Leningrad in 1941-1944 was in dire straits, and that centrifugal forces of opportunism, egoistic survival, and political (in)competence created possibilities for collapse. However, centripetal forces were sufficiently strong for collapse to be avoided. These centripetal forces included: sufficient elite coherence; local-level relations of empathy and dignity; and a sense of cohesion provided by the barbarity of the German assault itself.
Author: Jeffrey K. Hass
Date: 04/24/2019
Location: Princeton University
Primary URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5L43DeWn474&feature=youtu.be
Primary URL Description: youtube for lecture
Secondary URL: http://risk.princeton.edu/img/historical_collapse_production/6a_Hass.pdf
Secondary URL Description: Slides accompanying lecture

Soviet Discursive Power versus War: Agitation and Propaganda in the Blockade of Leningrad (Article)
Title: Soviet Discursive Power versus War: Agitation and Propaganda in the Blockade of Leningrad
Author: Jeffrey K. Hass
Abstract: In wartime, a crucial state goal is mobilizing civilians to sacrifice for the war effort and to feel a sense of loyalty to state and nation, and by extension to relevant elites. All talk and efforts for creating a loyal subject of a nation (or other political entity) are put to the test in war. One extreme case of the shock and suffering of war was the Blockade of Leningrad, where the 872-day siege led to mass death as well as suffering and created a new world of survival tactics and expedient policies. The research on the agitprop in Leningrad during the Blockade leads to a curious conclusion. Criticizing Stalin and Bolshevism were beyond the pale—but criticizing local structures, procedures, and collective habits could have worked, especially if one avoided criticizing Smolny and did criticized in the spirit of samokritika. Yet the persistence of blaming individual motivations and psychology suggests a real move away from the core logic of Marxism and even Leninism. In this sense, the political culture of Leningrad in the Blockade and the USSR at war might have been closer to the individualism of Anglo-American political culture—closer than either side would want to admit.
Year: 2018
Primary URL: http://modernhistory.ru/f/hass_0.pdf
Primary URL Description: Journal cite for article
Secondary URL: https://doi.org/10.21638/11701/spbu24.2018.402http://
Secondary URL Description: DOI
Access Model: Open access
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Noveishaia istoriia Rossii (Modern History of Russia)
Publisher: St. Petersburg State Univeristy

Moral Economies of Wartime Intimacy: One Facet of Gender in the Blockade of Leningrad (Article)
Title: Moral Economies of Wartime Intimacy: One Facet of Gender in the Blockade of Leningrad
Author: Jeffrey K. Hass
Abstract: Abstract: The Blockade of Leningrad was a tragedy that significantly affected all aspects of everyday civilian life. One such area was gender: from jobs to families and much more, the roles, identities, and practices of women and men shifted, sometimes profoundly. One such area was intimacy and sensuality. This paper briefly explores how the combination of material deprivation and shifts in women’s responsibilities and status in the besieged city created competing norms vis-à-vis the “proper” nature of sexuality and intimacy. In particular, after desexualization in the first Blockade winter — where sex drives and senses of femininity and masculinity were under assault by severe food and material deprivation — a resexualization followed once food availability stabilized. However, the return of senses of sexuality and intimacy was not without tension: in particular, a tension over the legitimate position of intimacy and sensuality in relation to deferring such feelings to discipline oneself and devote energy and attention to the war effort. In the sphere of everyday life, a politics of resexualization began to emerge in Leningrad in 1943.
Year: 2017
Primary URL: http://modernhistory.ru/d/1607380/d/hass.pdf
Primary URL Description: Link to article at journal site
Secondary URL: 10.21638/11701/spbu24.2017.206http://
Secondary URL Description: DOI link
Access Model: Open access
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Noveishaia istoriia Rossii (Modern History of Russia)
Publisher: St. Petersburg State University


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