Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Popular humour in Stalin's 1930s : a study of popular opinion and adaptation
Author: Waterlow, Jonathan
ISNI:       0000 0004 2735 7333
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Restricted access.
Access from Institution:
This thesis contributes primarily to answering two broad questions within the current scholarship on ‘everyday life’ in the Soviet Union: (1) How did Soviet citizens perceive, understand, and adapt to the 1930s? And (2) What were the principal associational structures of Soviet society in these years? These issues are not easily separated, with the second constituting a vital element of the first. They are therefore explored simultaneously in the first three chapters, which examine, respectively, the nature and possibilities of joke-telling in the 1930s; the principal targets of that humour; and, thirdly, its implicit assumptions, values and thematic proclivities. The fourth chapter concentrates on the structure and nature of sociability in the 1930s, and the final chapter incorporates those conclusions in order to address the larger question of how Soviet citizens came to understand and adapt to life in these years – for they did so together, rather than alone as old totalitarian theories of ‘atomisation’ proposed. The thesis makes two principal arguments. Firstly, all unofficial associational ties in this decade were necessarily underlaid by (and hence reliant upon) trust; therefore, the fundamental social unit in the 1930s was the trust group (small groups of citizens bound together by trust). Secondly, citizens adapted to the 1930s via an intricate blend of acceptance and criticism or, rather, of acceptance through the process of criticism. By criticising that which could not be changed, ‘ordinary’ Soviet citizens could retain some agency of their own and shared these interpretive acts with those whom they trusted. Rather than forming a critical ‘resistance’ or ‘dissent’, these processes created a pathway to adaptation without becoming simply crushed or brainwashed by ideology, and simultaneously shaped a complex, mutually affective interaction between popular values and official ideology.
Supervisor: Priestland, David ; Stargardt, Nicholas Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History ; History of other areas ; Soviet Union ; Stalinism ; Popular Humour ; Resistance ; Popular Opinion ; Trust