Dr. Botakoz Kassymbekova
Extraordinary lives in Ordinary Times: Ageing after Lenin and Stalin in the Soviet Union
My research focuses on individual experiences and wider societal narratives and policies directed at older people in the post-WWII Soviet Union. I foreground narratives and the individual experiences of ordinary people, analyzing how individuals accommodated themselves to “life after work” and renegotiated their roles in political, economic, and familial realms. The major questions I investigate are as follows: how did communist ideology shape experiences of older age and the conditions under which older people lived? How did the expectations and the social and cultural roles of older people compare with those of other generations? How did experiences of older age differ, if at all, between women and men, between rural and urban dwellers, and between those who lived with families and those without? What was the role of the state and ideology in the everyday lives of older people? The research aims to contribute to the global social and cultural history of post-WWII welfare states and merit-based societies.