Ilya N. Strekalov. The Soviet things — “characters” of our history? A review on the book: Golubev A. ‘Veschnaya zhizn’. The materiality of the late socialism. Moscow: NLO, 2022. 328 p. // Petersburg historical journal, no. 1, 2023, pp. 200–206
The book “‘Veschnaya zhizn’. The materiality of the late socialism” by historian Alexei Golubev tells about an important role of the things, settings, spaces in the daily life of the Soviet person and society of the late USSR. The author uses the concept of “spontaneous materialism”, which shows that materiality was not only an object of human activity or a means of power to create certain political and ideological conditions, but also aimed as an independent actor that forms the personality of a Soviet citizen and the foundations of the Soviet society, often doing this in circumstances of bypassing the prescriptions of power and, in fact, being its competitor in the formation of the ideology of society. The researcher focuses on such materials as the production language, models of various objects, monuments of wooden architecture, entrances and staircases of residential buildings as places of folding informal social groups, the “cult” of iron as a means of forming an unrecognized group of athletes — bodybuilders, TV as an actor of the ritual in the daily Soviet life of an apartment resident. As Golubev claims, the considered documentary and information makes it possible to talk about the modernity of the Soviet Union as a state in which the same processes related to the influence of materiality on society as in other countries of the world took place.
materiality, language, modeling, wooden architecture, entrance, residential building, bodybuilding, TV, modernity, Soviet Union, late Soviet.
Strekalov, Ilya Nikolaevich — PhD in History, independent researcher, Moscow, Russia.