Anikó Imre is Associate Professor and Chair of Critical Studies in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. She is the author of Identity Games: Globalization and the Transformation of Media Cultures in the New Europe.
The Great Socialist Game (Show)
This chapter discusses how quiz and game show formats, one of the most popular program types during socialism, were deployed as instruments for mass education. The argument zooms out to consider how quiz and game shows crystallized the logic of competition. Competition embraced and permeated socialist cultures and economies during the Cold War, which runs current to the collaborative, democratic, equalizing ethos and image of the system. The chapter unfolds this crucial competitive logic from various regional program formats that included contests in literature, arts, sciences, trades, factory work, farming, pop music, sports, beauty, and household management. These formats absorbed the older influence of Kantian art education that fuels European cultural nationalism as well as early communist competitive factory production within the overarching context of Cold War competition between the two superpowers.