Publication Date




Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Communication (Communication)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Christina Lane

Second Committee Member

Wanhsiu S. Tsai

Third Committee Member

Kim Grinfeder

Fourth Committee Member

Vicki Callahan


The dominant discourses of Eastern European rural regions portray them as passive, homogeneous places and “the greatest ‘losers’ of the post-socialist transition” (Saar, 2008, 140). This dissertation explores the (re)production of post-Soviet rural space from the perspective of Estonian rural women. It utilizes a multi-perspectival approach that tackles the production of space from three interrelated angles: representational, material, and symbolic (Lefebvre, 1991; Halfacree, 2007). It asks what kind of (counter)hegemonic versions of post-socialist rurality and rural femininities emerge in connection with the representations, spatial practices and lived experiences of Estonian rural women, and which coherences and contradictions surface from the multiple ways of “telling” and performing these ruralities. It draws on variety of theories and concepts from cultural studies, cultural geography, post-socialist studies and gender studies; and combines various qualitative methods, including textual analysis, focus groups, respondent interviews and observations in two geographically different rural areas in Estonia. The results demonstrate that the alternative representations, spatial practices and lived experiences of Estonian rural women are mainly challenging the dominant ideas of post-socialist rurality and rural femininities. These post-Soviet rural women have developed alternative, empowered identities that help them to renegotiate their place in society.


rural space; post-soviet rural women; cultural geography; post-colonial feminism; post-socialist studies; Estonia

Available for download on Monday, July 26, 2021