In the middle of the 1950’s, a turning point in political and social norms can be witnessed in Soviet consumption trends. The conference will focus on the role of these trends in promoting tensions between individually made clothes (at home or by a tailor) on the one hand, and the State propagated dress code on the other, as well as on the resulting impact on the relationship between the individual and the State. This opens new perspectives for the analysis of social, economic and political developments in the late Soviet Union, and how these developments relate to the (de)stabilisation of Soviet ruling structures. The conference will also aim to uncover new facets of everyday Soviet life to illustrate the behaviour patterns of Soviet citizens (individual appropriation and demarcation processes) and to consider how these manifest in both individual longings and needs and wider consumption trends.
The central question is how the form, sense and consumption of everyday items transform under changing political, economic and social conditions. The starting point is to investigate the history of material culture in the Soviet Union and explore its effects on social and cultural life. There will be a focus also on the duality of clothing fashion in the Soviet Union with the dichotomy between individual clothing production and the State propagated dress code being explored.
On the basis of this exploration, we anticipate speakers from academic fields including but not limited to the following items: fashion and clothing, women's and gender studies, political science, history, and economics. We will attempt to address the following questions: What specific features are recognizable in Soviet clothing fashion between the post-war period and perestroika? What, if any, “western” trends can be observed? What were the driving forces (i.e.: political, economic, ideological or cultural circumstances) that contributed to these developments? What was the effect of individual production of clothing on the identity of the Soviet woman? What role did this play in the transformation of social norms?
We are interested in all contributions which will help address these diverse questions. We welcome studies based on literature, film, photography, periodicals, visual arts, and other sources.
The organizers warmly invite researchers to participate in the conference and ask for a speaking title, abstract (approx. 500 words), and a brief personal summary by the 28th of February, 2013. Please submit the above to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The estimated speaking time is 30 minutes, followed by a 15 minute open discussion period. The conference will take place at the University of Salzburg, Austria. Travel expenses, overnight costs and expenses will be partially compensated. The publication of a conference volume is planned.
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