Public and private shaping of Soviet mining city: contested history?

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Public and private shaping of Soviet mining city: contested history?

The paper tells the story of the shaping of a Soviet oil-shale mining city - Kohtla-Järve, Estonia - by contrasting the public sphere represented by photo-albums with private ones represented by life-stories. The reason for Kohtla-Järve's existence is oil-shale and its usage as political tool has caused the city's rise and decline in the socio-economic turmoil of the 20th century. Yet, as contradictory as we would like to think results of visual representation analysis and a biographical approach concerning Soviet and contemporary worlds are, they both still broadly follow political and socio-economic circumstances. Imagery and life-stories are not poles apart, they just focus on different things; representations are somewhat rooted in real life and biographies are partly lived in public space.

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