Behind the Scene

The Mari Teacher’s Wardrobe in Middle Russia


  • Ildikó Lehtinen


dress codes, folk costume, identity, Mari, Soviet and Post-Soviet period, tacit knowledge


In this article, I analyze teacher’s attire as a political phenomenon in the context of the Mari people, a Finno-Ugric minority living in Central Russia. The material for this study is based on observations and interviews made by the author during 1987‒2019 in different places of the Mari region. The Mari teacher’s dress code, a dark dress with a white collar, is usually considered self-evident, but as I argue in this article, in the Soviet Union, and in Russia at the post-socialist time, the Mari female teacher’s dress served two practices. Firstly, clothing represented position and agency of power, the socialist ideal, and later the political trend of the majority. Secondly, clothing represented traditional, everyday Mari life.





How to Cite

Lehtinen, I. (2021). Behind the Scene : The Mari Teacher’s Wardrobe in Middle Russia. Ethnologia Fennica, 48(2), 5–40.