Crossing Borders: Modernity, Ideology, and Culture in Russia by Michael David-Fox

By Michael David-Fox

Crossing Borders deconstructs modern theories of Soviet background from the revolution throughout the Stalin interval, and gives new interpretations in response to a transnational viewpoint. To Michael David-Fox, Soviet historical past used to be formed by means of interactions throughout its borders. by way of reexamining conceptions of modernity, ideology, and cultural transformation, he demanding situations the polarizing camps of Soviet exceptionalism and shared modernity and in its place strives for a theoretical and empirical heart flooring because the foundation for an artistic and richly textured analysis.
Discussions of Soviet modernity have tended to work out the Soviet country both as an archaic holdover from the Russian previous, or as purely one other type of traditional modernity. David-Fox as a substitute considers the Soviet Union in its personal light—as a seismic shift from tsarist society that attracted influential viewers from the pacifist Left to the fascist correct. by means of reassembling Russian legacies, as he indicates, the Soviet procedure developed right into a advanced “intelligentsia-statist” shape that brought an array of novel agendas and practices, many embodied within the specified buildings of the party-state. Crossing Borders demonstrates  the desire for a brand new interpretation of the Russian-Soviet old trajectory—one that moves a stability among the actual and the universal.

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Additional resources for Crossing Borders: Modernity, Ideology, and Culture in Russia and the Soviet Union (Pitt Russian East European)

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Lenoe allowed that in the most general sense Soviet newspapers could be seen as participating in a mass “communications revolution” that relied on new forms and technologies (an argument developed in Kotkin’s “Modern Times,” which Lenoe did not cite), but he argued that, in a global context, agitprop and Soviet newspapers were sui generis. 49 As Lenoe put it: “Postmodern claims for the dominance of discourse and micro-practices of power over the self and the world have contributed to recent arguments that the Soviet Union, Imperial Russia, and the liberal democracies of the ‘West’ share or shared something called ‘modernity’ with many nefarious consequences.

One can better understand both the plurality of positions on modernity and this general if loose commonality through the dilemmas raised in the turn from “modernization” to “modernity” outside the Russian field. Between the heyday of modernization theory of the 1950s–1960s and the rise of less teleological and universalistic approaches of the 1990s and 2000s, the identification of common, more or less measurable markers of modernization (such as levels of industrialization, literacy, urbanization, and secularization) was subsumed by the identification of a range of abstract, ontological, cosmological shifts associated with the advent of modernity in various times and places.

For Lenoe and Martin, writing twenty years later, as well as for those who continue to be attracted to the concept of neo-traditionalism, an issue worth pondering is that neither difference nor the mixture of modern and traditional is disallowed by the concept of multiple or alternative modernities. Indeed, it can easily be argued that all modern systems have coexisted and conflicted with persisting premodern or traditional practices. At the outset of this discussion, moreover, one of the strands of the existing literature on modernity in the Russian/Soviet field was identified as the civilizational—the notion that the path to modernity must in part derive from Russian patterns or an emergent Soviet civilization.

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