PLEASURE, POWER, AND THE PURSUIT OF COMMUNISM: SOVIET YOUTH AND STATE-SPONSORED POPULAR CULTURE DURING THE EARLY COLD WAR, 1945-1968 Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
Creator
  • Tsipursky, Gleb
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History
Abstract
  • My dissertation investigates how the Soviet Party-state tried to build communism through fun and leisure during the early Cold War. I explore organized cultural activities for young people, including concerts, shows, dances, and cultural education-what I collectively call state-sponsored popular culture. My research relies on archives, newspapers and other official publications, literature, cinema, memoirs, and interviews. Chapter 1 overviews state-sponsored popular culture from its early years to the immediate postwar period. The next chapter illuminates the extreme politicization in the officially recommended cultural activities during the anticosmopolitan campaign, 1947 to 1953. Chapter 3 traces the attack on western-style music and dancing in state-sponsored popular culture in the same period, and the difficulties in fully implementing this policy. In chapter 4, I explore how the more pluralistic cultural policies during the early Thaw, 1953-56, impacted organized cultural activities. The fifth chapter presents a case study of the transformations in the Thaw by focusing on the novel institution of youth initiative clubs. Chapter 6 provides insights on the Kremlin's campaign to instill normative aesthetic tastes among youth as part of a brief militant turn in late 1956 and 1957. Finally, the last chapter traces the zig-zags in top-level cultural policy and its impact on youth everyday life during the socialist sixties, 1958 to 1968. I conclude that a multitude of young people truly had fun in Soviet organized cultural activities. State-sponsored popular culture, riven by tensions between a hard-line and soft-line approach to cultural policy, opened up significant room for youth agency and grassroots activism. This proved especially true during the Thaw, with the new post-Stalin leadership seeking to build a socialist alternative to a western modern consumer society as a means of constructing communism and fighting the Cold War on the domestic front. For state-sponsored popular culture, this socialist consumer society meant a combination of satisfying cultural consumption desires, shaping aesthetic tastes, and eliciting initiative from below.
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  • In Copyright
Advisor
  • Raleigh, Donald
Degree
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Graduation year
  • 2011
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