Hewn from Stone: (Re)Presenting Soviet Material Cultures and Identities

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Abstract

This paper is concerned with the 'production' of items of material culture, including monuments, made from precious and semi-precious stone, in the early Soviet Union (1920s and 1930s). Selecting examples such as the stars which top the Kremlin towers, it engages with the issues of production of these items, in particular the significance of the materials from which they were made, and the (re)constructed identities of the craftsmen who made them. Drawing on contemporary press sources in order to access a particularly opaque public discourse surrounding these issues, the paper considers these items as embodiments of the labour of their makers, and interrogates the significance of that labour for the regime for which the objects were made. It concludes that through the act of production, Soviet workers re-produced and re-presented themselves in line with the imperatives of the commissioning state.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)591-610
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Social History
Volume41
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008

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