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Consuming Russia: Popular Culture, Sex, and Society since Gorbachev

Edited by
Adele Marie Barker
Adele Marie Barker

Adele Marie Barker is Associate Professor of Russian and Comparative Cultural and Literary Studies at the University of Arizona. She is the author of The Mother Syndrome in the Russian Folk Imagination and coeditor of Dialogues/Dialogi: Literary and Cultural Exchanges between (Ex)Soviet and American Women, also published by Duke University Press.

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Duke University Press
ISBN electronic:
978-0-8223-9641-3
Publication date:
1999

With the collapse of the Soviet empire in the late 1980s, the Russian social landscape has undergone its most dramatic changes since the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, turning the once bland and monolithic state-run marketplace into a virtual maze of specialty shops—from sushi bars to discotheques and tattoo parlors. In Consuming Russia editor Adele Marie Barker presents the first book-length volume to explore the sweeping cultural transformation taking place in the new Russia.

The contributors examine how the people of Russia reconcile prerevolutionary elite culture—as well as the communist legacy—with the influx of popular influences from the West to build a society that no longer relies on a single dominant discourse and embraces the multiplicities of both public and private Russian life. Barker brings together Russian and American scholars from anthropology, history, literature, political science, sociology, and cultural studies. These experts fuse theoretical analysis with ethnographic research to analyze the rise of popular culture, covering topics as varied as post-Soviet rave culture, rock music, children and advertising, pyramid schemes, tattooing, pets, and spectator sports. They consider detective novels, anecdotes, issues of feminism and queer sexuality, nostalgia, the Russian cinema, and graffiti. Discussions of pornography, religious cults, and the deployment of Soviet ideological symbols as post-Soviet kitsch also help to demonstrate how the rebuilding of Russia’s political and economic infrastructure has been influenced by its citizens’ cultural production and consumption.

This volume will appeal to those engaged with post-Soviet studies, to anyone interested in the state of Russian society, and to readers more generally involved with the study of popular culture.

Contributors. Adele Marie Barker, Eliot Borenstein, Svetlana Boym, John Bushnell, Nancy Condee, Robert Edelman, Laurie Essig, Julia P. Friedman, Paul W. Goldschmidt, Judith Deutsch Kornblatt, Anna Krylova, Susan Larsen, Catharine Theimer Nepomnyaschy, Theresa Sabonis-Chafee, Tim Scholl, Adam Weiner, Alexei Yurchak, Elizabeth Kristofovich Zelensky

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