INDIVIDUAL AND COLLECTIVE AGEING
Botakoz Kassymbekova’s research focuses on the everyday experiences and gender dynamics of ageing in the post-WII Soviet Union. So far, only the experiences of young and middle-aged, usually professionally active, persons have been considered in analyses of the Soviet past. Dr Kassymbekova’s research aims to understand the Soviet past through the stories of old people and through the prism of their experiences. Major questions she seeks to understand are: what did it mean to grow old in the Soviet Union? How did old people think of old age? Did social and cultural roles of and expectations from old people differ from those of other generations? How did elderly people organize their leisure and social activities, their relations with friends, ex-colleagues, relatives? What was the same for women and men, for individuals from rural and urban areas, for those who lived with families and without? How did an individual’s profession shape their life “after work”? What was the role of the state in the everyday lives of old people? There is an explicit focus on the very mundane; what old people read, what they watched, and what they ate, and how they navigated their neighbourhoods, towns, and what they expressed as dreams, aspirations, and memories.