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Title: Socialism in one apartment : activist comunes, ideology, and praxis in the early Soviet state
Author: Willimott, Andy
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2012
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The subject of this thesis is the untold history of the Soviet activist commune - spontaneous urban cells of collective activism created by young enthusiasts eager to put theory into practice, engage with Soviet ideology, and act on the modern socialist visions circulating the early Soviet state. Socialism in One Apartment: Activist Communes, Ideology, and Praxis in the Early Soviet State is formed around the construction, outlook, and demise of these communes. It traces their development inside the Soviet institutes of higher eduction, their migration into wider society, and the exponential growth in commune numbers accompanying the First Five Year Plan, before assessing the gradual dissolution of this movement in the early-to-mid 1930s. It is the contention of this thesis that the activist commune provides a unique perspective for us to reassess and enhance our understanding of Soviet society, citizen-state relations, and the formation of the Soviet edifice. Utilising a range of unused and neglected archival collections and contemporary print holdings, this study shows how these young activists appropriated and effected revolution between 1917 and 1934. Challenging old coercive and recent discursive arguments, which suggest that Soviet officials maintained absolute and measured control of revolution and state, this evidence reveals the symbiotic and at times convoluted reality of the world's first communist state. The activist communes are shown to engage with, and comment on, important revolutionary themes, such as cultural revolution, the formation of the new life (novyi byt), and new socialist working habits. By exploring the activities, local contingencies, and impact of the activist communard, this thesis assesses the complex relationship between enthusiast and state; the dialogue between the autonomous and the official. It shows how communards extended the initiatives, policy, and discourse of the state, but also helped to shaped the practical realities of this revolution on the ground. The role of official state forces is not disputed, but the communard is used to highlight the significance of the active subject and to add texture to our understand of early Soviet development. This thesis, therefore, not only fills a lacuna in Soviet history but offers an innovative insiqht into the establishment of Soviet political culture - the concerns and issues that drove the political agenda of the early Soviet state.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available