When Time and Space Are No Longer the Same: Stories about Immigration

Maria N. Yelenevskaya, Larisa Fialkova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper analyzes personal narratives of immigrants to Israel from the countries of the former Soviet Union. Time is constituted by social activities, and its perception varies across cultures and changes over time. Growing up in a culture we internalize a specific system of social time characterized by regularities, cycles, and repetitions. This paper demonstrates that all of it changes when immigrants find themselves in a new culture. The loss of stability is viewed as a temporary life in a temporary home. While before emigration people are future-oriented, upon immigration they tend to emphasize the significance of their past. Perception of space also undergoes transformations. Some narrators suffer from “claustrophobia” caused by moving from the largest country in the world to such a small country as Israel. In addition a marked difference in the climate, flora and fauna lead to the shift in the perception of exterior and interior space. In order to adapt to the new environment, immigrants attempt to interpret it in terms of familiar cultural codes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-230
JournalStudia Mythologica Slavica
StatePublished - 2002


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