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Studies in East European Thought

, Volume 66, Issue 1–2, pp 123–138 | Cite as

The role of culture in early Soviet models of governance

  • Rouslan KhestanovEmail author
Article
  • 209 Downloads

Abstract

The article draws attention to the exceptional importance of the concept of culture in the development of early Soviet models of governance. It proposes an analysis of party cadres’ conceptualization of culture that provided the basis for the creation of the state monopoly on cultural production of the young Soviet regime in the early 1920s. Particular attention is given to Lenin’s differentiation between “bureaucratic” and “cultural” motivations to labour that, after the October Revolution of 1917, allowed to substantiate the shift in the point of view on socialism from a political to a cultural one. The building of the new Soviet statehood required a moderate depoliticization, the renunciation of the radical revolutionary rhetoric of class struggle in internal policy and the reinterpretation of class, social and cultural contradictions. Attention is drawn to the importance of cultural debates for the creation of the unique Soviet mechanism of governance that separated the principal ideological role of the party from the operative administration of the state machinery. At the centre of the analysis there will be no “theories” of culture or doctrinal diversity of Marxist-Leninist approaches but there will be the modes of culture’s problematization within the sphere that was defined by Michel Foucault as gouvernementalité. A group of specific texts is analyzed, in which governmental rationality and problematization of cultural policy were directly presented. This refers to verbatim reports and party congresses’ materials.

Keywords

Culture Policy Ideology Bolsheviks Party cadres Governance 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MoscowRussia

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