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Lecture: Shopping with Brezhnev. Consumer culture and modernity in the late Soviet Union

The Department of Historical Sociology together with the Department of Social and Cultural Ecology, Faculty of Humanities cordially invite you to a lecture 'Shopping with Brezhnev: consumer culture and modernity in the late Soviet Union' by Dr Natalye Chernyshova, University of Winchester.


Since the time of the Cold War, a widely shared view of the Soviet Union in the West has been that of a consumer hell: chronic shortages, drab and shoddy goods, and long queues. This paper will show, however, that in the Brezhnev era (1965-1985) the Soviet people had 'never had it so good'. This was the time when ordinary Soviets, and urban residents especially, experienced a major rise in their living standards, enabling them to take part in a kind of consumer modernity that we normally associate with Western capitalist societies. In what is often known as the period of stagnation, not only did Soviet citizens become modern consumers, but consumption also became a field of interaction between individuals and the regime at a time when participatory politics was meaningless, or, at best, demoted to a ritual. Although this new 'prosperity' was the outcome of state efforts, the consumer 'revolution' it brought about posed all kinds of challenges to the Soviet regime and had profound consequences for the communist project.


Dr Natalya Chernyshova is Senior Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Winchester, UK. She completed her MA and PhD studies at King's College London. She has published on late Soviet consumer culture, fashion and cinema, including Soviet Consumer Culture in the Brezhnev Era. Her new research project is a political biography of Petr Masherau, the charismatic and popular leader of the Belorussian Communist Party during the Brezhnev era.


The lecture takes place in Jinonice within the Historical Sociology Confrontations lecture series on Tuesday, November 6, 2018 at 5 pm.


Event start 6 November 2018 at 5:00 PM
Event end 6 November 2018 at 7:00 PM
Type of event Lecture
Organiser Department of Historical Sociology
Organiser's contact email ale.markova@email.cz
Event website https://hiso.fhs.cuni.cz/HISOENG-45.html
Venue University area Jinonice (U Kříže 8, Prague 5), room No. 2080
Target group Academic community
Reservation No
Admission fee No
Disabled access Yes
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Charles University

Faculty of Humanities

U Kříže 8

158 00 Prague 5 - Jinonice

Czech Republic


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Public transport: metro, line B (yellow), the Jinonice stop (the direction of Zličín from the city centre). Parking is available nearby.