Shagi / Steps the Journal of the SASH


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Inquisitorial anthropology as generator of historical narratives of the Soviet era

O. L. Leybovich
Perm State Institute of Culture (Russia, Perm)
A. I. Kazankov
Perm State Institute of Culture (Russia, Perm)

DOI: 10.22394/2412-9410-2022-8-3-198-214

Keywords: anthropology, inquisitor, historical sources, ego-documents, Russian history, Soviet era, everyday life, heresy, archival and investigative files, party meetings

Abstract: The article focuses on the use in historical research of ego-documents obtained in the course of investigative activities. The term inquisitorial anthropology is introduced to denote the origin of sources of this type, and comprises the practices of observation, intelligence from informers, private denunciations, interrogations of suspects and collection of witness testimonies. The article presents the genesis of such practices, their generic properties and species differences. The characteristics of evidence resulting from inquisitorial anthropology are described and the necessity of scientific criticism of this type of sources is substantiated. They are biased, one-sided and contain falsifications. The article offers criteria to distinguish spontaneous authentic speech from its deformation by an unscrupulous investigator. Spontaneous speech is characterized by vagueness, the presence of dialectisms, and repetitions. In relation to the objectives of the investigation it contains redundant information. The article analyses the obvious signs of falsification of investigative materials. The article presents situations in which there are no alternatives to inquisitorial sources. Particular attention is paid to the analysis of archival and investigative files and minutes of party meetings from the 1930s in Soviet Russia . The article points out possible subject fields for everyday historians who use materials from inquisitorial anthropology as sources: structures of mentality, everyday practices, human subjectivity, types of social behaviour and everyday communication. The article addresses the problems of research ethics for historians working with materials of inquisitorial anthropology.

To cite this article: Leybovich, O. L., & Kazankov, A. I. (2022). Inquisitorial anthropology as generator of historical narratives of the Soviet era. Shagi/Steps, 8(3), 198214. (In Russian). https://doi.org/10.22394/2412-9410-2022-8-3-198-214.