The Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore implemented in 2017–2019 the research project „Plots of Individual Modernization in the Autobiographic Narratives of the First Generation Urban Inhabitants (Post-War Period in Vilnius)“, funded by the Research Council of Lithuania as a part of the national scholarly program „Modernity in Lithuania“ (grant No. S-MOD-17-11).
Project leader: Radvilė Racėnaitė, PhD (Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore)
Project group: Lina Būgienė, PhD (Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore), Jurga Jonutytė, PhD (Vytautas Magnus University / Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore), Mykolė Lukošienė, doctoral student (Vytautas Magnus University / Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore).
About the project. In the course of two post-war decades Vilnius filled up with population that was not acquainted with either urban sociality or adequate attitude to the urban spaces. These people were used to rather homogenous social structure of the Lithuanian villages or small towns, different spaces, another kind of ergonomics, everyday trajectories, and temporal rhythms. The autobiographical narratives of that period that were collected, systematized and analyzed describe changes taking place in peoples’ habits and thinking, the stages and transformations shaping the urban relationship with multinational and otherwise multidimensional social environment, the urban space, their own emerging new roles and needs. The analysis of the modernization of individual consciousness reveals current aspects and extents of this process, the remnants of the traditional thinking and ways of life still preserved in the consciousness of the urban people that keep determining the rather inert attitude of the Lithuanian towns in terms of the social and cultural change, as well as indicating the most effective ways of countering this inertia.
In the course of implementing the project, 50 interviews were performed, producing over 100 hours of audio and video recordings. The respondents include people of different age, ethnic and social backgrounds, and characterized by rather diverse experiences of living in the post-war Vilnius.
Seven respondents have been born in the 1920s, three – in the 1950s. The majority of respondents have been born in the 1930s and 1940s.
Sixteen among our respondents are men, others are women. We interviewed five people of Polish nationality, four Jews and two Russians; all the rest are Lithuanians. Six interviews were carried out in Russian, others in Lithuanian.
The main research results include a collective monograph in English (expected publication in 2020), five research articles, five presentations at the national and international conferences, numerous contributions at the research seminars and public events, interviews and articles in the media, etc.
The project tasks entailed cooperation with the University of Tartu (Estonia), where a joint seminar was arranged in the autumn of 2017 together with the Estonian researchers investigating the Soviet period.
An important project result is the internet website http://pokariovilnius.llti.lt presenting the most interesting research materials: 10 transcribed interview texts in Lithuanian and English, 10 audio and 5 video recordings. Thus the internet users can get acquainted with 25 respondents interviewed in the course of the project and form an idea regarding the autobiographical narratives of the post-war Vilnius. On this website, part of the photo collection by the famous Lithuanian folklore collector Jurgis Dovydaitis, currently preserved in the folklore archives of the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore is displayed for the first time. These photos have been taken in Vilnius in 1948–1953.