Chapter

Mechanisms of Integration: Rituals, Icons, and Idols

Juliane Fürst

in Stalin's Last Generation

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780199575060
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595141 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199575060.003.0004
Mechanisms of Integration: Rituals, Icons, and Idols

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Several historians have pointed out that, regardless of their factual democratic credibility, Soviet practices and rituals produced integrative powers and gave stable frameworks in which individuals were able to find identities and meaning. It is thus worthwhile to take a closer look at the practices and rituals that defined the life of young Soviets and examine them dispassionately in terms of their resonance and effectiveness. This chapter focuses on the mundane, yet crucial, fixtures of everyday Komsomol life such as the Komsomol assembly, Komsomol insignia, electoral practices, and the vexed question of expected and permissible discussion. It was the day-to-day practices that shaped people's relationship with the system. It was here that bonds were formed and it was here that ties were cut. It was also in the mundane where Soviet forms of thinking and behaviour proved to be most durable.

Keywords: Soviet Union; integration; Komsomol; youth; Stalinism; young people; mundane

Chapter.  16247 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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