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Title: The Siege of Leningrad and the ambivalence of the sacred conversations with survivors
Author: Clapperton, James Chalmers
ISNI:       0000 0004 2679 6545
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis is based upon a series of interviews conducted with thirty survivors of the siege of Leningrad (1941-44). The interviews took place in Edinburgh, Newcastle and St. Petersburg between 2003 and 2006. The conversations were recorded onto cassette. They were then compared with over three hundred additional recently published siege testimonies. The premise of the thesis is that across the decades the siege of Leningrad has been mythologised both in historiography and in public and private memories. Rather than seeking to detach this phenomenon from facts and data it is analysed as a key facet of the story of the blockade. It is also stated that Giorgio Agamben's concept of the ambivalence of the sacred through embracing both the sacred and the profane provides a fresh analytical tool for the study of siege memories. This is because it brings together myths of heroism associated with the blockade and stories covering acts of cannibalism and war profiteering. These extremes of human behaviour are not regarded as mutually exclusive but as intrinsic parts of siege mythology. Consequently, profane stories merely serve to underline the overall sacrality of siege testimonies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available