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Soviet Youth and the Politics of Popular Culture during NEP

Anne E. Gorsuch
Social History
Vol. 17, No. 2 (May, 1992), pp. 189-201
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4286015
Page Count: 13
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Abstract

Anne Gorsuch examines the nature of Soviet youth cultures during the period of the New Economic Policy (1921-8), revealing new aspects of everyday life in Soviet Russia and exploring the challenges of post-revolutionary cultural construction. Soviet youth cultures--their activities, beliefs, and everyday behaviour -- were a crucial battlefield in the struggle for social transformation and cultural hegemony. The article looks at two representative areas of popular youth culture -- movies and dress -- and explores the conflict between Bolshevik ideals and youth's own conceptions of popular leisure activities which often included Western forms of entertainment and dress. The article concludes with a discussion of the ways in which the Bolsheviks' concern about the younger generation's persistently 'deviant' and 'decadent' behaviour contributed to the demise of NEP and the abandonment of NEP's gradualist policies of education and cultural reform in favour of the authoritarian policies of the Cultural Revolution.

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