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Journal section "Social and cultural research"

Post-Socialist Nostalgia in Contemporary Russian Society

Kalashnikov K.N.

Volume 9, Issue 2, 2023

Kalashnikov K.N. (2023). Post-Socialist Nostalgia in Contemporary Russian Society. Social area, 9 (2). DOI: 10.15838/sa.2023.2.38.9 URL: http://socialarea-journal.ru/article/29649?_lang=en

DOI: 10.15838/sa.2023.2.38.9

Abstract   |   Authors   |   References
The article touches upon the methodological foundations and peculiarities of identifying the phenomenon of post-socialist nostalgia in contemporary Russian society. The argumentation is based, on the one hand, on the basic works on the subject of the research, and, on the other hand, on the data of sociological surveys of the population. In contrast to similar works, the article focuses on the dynamism and complexity of nostalgia as a phenomenon, while raising a fundamental question: can the concept of “nostalgia” be applied to describe sociocultural processes on the collective level? The relevance of this problem is justified by two prerequisites. The first is the theoretical one: there is a point of view that memory exists only on the individual level, so this requirement can be extended to the related concept of nostalgia. The second is the empirical one: the author reveals the susceptibility of young respondents born after the events of 1991 to yearning for the USSR collapse, albeit to a lesser extent than in older age groups. The author sees the solution to these contradictions not in the compromise use of the term “nostalgia” as a metaphor, but in a series of complementary general theoretical models. A. Assmann’s model of human memory allows us to study nostalgia as a product of complex interaction of individual (neural), social and cultural memory. The sense of belonging of the witnesses of the USSR collapse to a single “brotherhood” is placed within the framework of the principles of functioning of B. Anderson's “imagined communities”. The theory of cultural trauma, which treats nostalgia as a symptom of post-communist nostalgia, allows us to explore the role of “carrier groups” and intellectuals who form collective representations of the past. Finally, J. Alexander’s concept of iconic consciousness makes it possible to study objects of material heritage of the Soviet era as symbolic mediators that concentrate collective memory. Referring to empirical data and examples, the author shows the advantages of each of the above approaches to the study and interpretation of the phenomenon of post-socialist nostalgia in contemporary Russian society

Keywords

sociological survey, post-socialist nostalgia, cultural memory, cultural trauma, iconic consciousness, material heritage, RF

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