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Title: 'Nestolichnaya kul'tura' : regional and national identity in post-1961 Russian culture
Author: Donovan, Victoria
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis examines the state-sponsored rise of local patriotism in the post-1961 period, interpreting this as part of the effort to strengthen popular support for and the legitimacy of the Soviet regime during the second phase of de-Stalinization. It shifts the analytical focus away from the Secret Speech of 1956, the time of Khrushchev’s full-scale assault on Stalin and his legacy, to the Twenty-Second Party Congress of 1961, the inauguration of a utopian and pioneering plan to build Communism by 1980. The thesis considers how this famously forward-looking programme gave rise to an institutionalized retrospectivism as Soviet policy makers turned to the past to mobilize popular support for socialist construction. It examines how this process played out in the Russian North West, where Soviet citizens were encouraged to turn inwards to examine their local history and traditions, and to reread these through the lens of Soviet socialism. The thesis takes as a case study the towns of Novgorod, Pskov, and Vologda, where the state-sponsored regeneration of local traditions significantly impacted on the self-perception of local communities. In the first part, I look at the strategies for representing and displaying local culture in pubic institutions: the textual treatment and symbolic ordering of urban space in local tourist guides; the heritage movement and the attribution of cultural value to certain objects from the local landscape; and the primary focuses of the exhibitive 'gaze' in local museums. The second part of the thesis shifts the focus from institutionalized culture to popular culture, examining the informal practices and oral traditions that exist alongside the authoritative discourses of social identity in the post-Soviet period. The popular interpretation of public sculpture, the collective imagination of urban space, and the 'common knowledge' of the past as it is articulated in oral narratives are the focuses of discussion.
Supervisor: Kelly, Catriona Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Modern Britain and Europe ; Russian ; Social anthropology ; National identity ; Local identity ; cultural memory ; institutions of memory ; oral history ; urban history