Accepted paper:

Dis)comforts of homemaking in the face of recurring military presence

Authors:

Elo-Hanna Seljamaa (University of Tartu)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores notions and sensations of dis)comfort as they are expressed by residents of an Estonian parish where Soviet military planes have been replaced by NATO’s ultramodern combat aircrafts. What are the dis)comforts of home and homemaking in the face of recurring military presence?

Paper long abstract:

This paper explores notions and sensations of comfort and discomfort as they are expressed by inhabitants of Vasalemma, an Estonian parish where Soviet military planes have been recently replaced by NATO's ultramodern combat aircrafts. The parish is the site of a military air base established by the Soviet army in the 1940s and taken over by Estonian air forces in the mid-1990s. Since 2012, this air base has re-emerged as a state-of-the-art military complex linked into NATO's collective air defence system. Drawing on interviews and observations conducted on-site, this presentation looks at the dis)comforts of home and homemaking in the face of recurring military presence. What is it like to dwell in a multiethnic demilitarised zone that is being remilitarised after a short period of relative peace and quiet? How do the residents of Vasalemma make sense of and experience their home ground's military past and present? Of particular interest is the aspect of noise: besides being a source of physical and emotional discomfort, noise is something that Cold-War era Soviet planes and contemporary NATO aircrafts share and is thus used to reflect on homemaking on a broader scale: Estonia's NATO membership and relationship to the Russian Federation, the presence of U.S. and other foreign troops in Estonia, tense international relations, the possibility of history repeating itself.

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Dis)comforts of home: historical and cultural perspectives