Workers in Soviet Museum Ethnography in the 1950s: Class Analysis and Politics of Time
[Rabochie v sovetskoi muzeinoi etnografii 1950-kh godov: klassovyi analiz i politika vremeni]
Type of publication: Research Article
Soviet ethnography, State Museum of Ethnography, Russian Museum of Ethnography, workers, class analysis, politics of time
Drawn on archival materials produced by The State Museum of Ethnography of the Peoples of the USSR (nowadays The Russian Museum of Ethnography) in the 1950s, the article explores the ways in which the image of workers was constructed as an object of ethnographic inquiry and museum representation in the context of social and political changes that marked the period stretching from the late Stalinism to Khrushchev’s “thaw”. It focuses on the Russian workers seen as the largest and most significant “national group of the proletariat”. Ethnographic studies of workers conducted during the period were conceptually based on the monolinear class analysis that was instrumental in establishing a temporal hierarchy separating the “advanced” working class from the “backward” peasantry. Yet, if in the early 1950s museum ethnographers tended to draw sharp lines between the workers and the peasants in their scholarly writings and exhibitions, the situation started to change with the coming of the Khrushchev “thaw” when class distinctions began to be blurred and ethnographers would constantly emphasize commonalities and similarities in the everyday life and culture of both groups.
Petriashin, S.S. 2021. Workers in Soviet Museum Ethnography in the 1950s: Class Analysis and Politics of Time [Rabochie v sovetskoi muzeinoi etnografii 1950-kh godov: klassovyi analiz i politika vremeni] Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 4: 156–174. https://doi.org/10.31857/S086954150016707-7
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