Chapter

Comparative Narratives: Russlanddeutsch Migration Stories

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Abstract

This chapter examines how groups of people with similar origins and identifications create different collective narratives. It does so by focusing on two groups of German-speaking Mennonites from Russia—one composed of voluntary migrants and the other composed of refugees—who settled in Paraguay’s Gran Chaco during the interwar years of the twentieth century. At the broadest level, I argue that national and religious identifications are embedded in collective mythologies that assume a wide range of narrative trajectories. My argument is rooted in social theorist Rogers Brubaker’s concept of ‘groupness’ and literary theorist Northrop Frye’s ‘Theory of Modes.’

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