The “Vital Food of Proletariat”: Constructing the Proletarian Identity in the USSR of the 1920s
Type of publication: Research Article
proletariat culture, group identity, discursive production of community, food metaphors
The article traces the changes of notions of food as a basis for the proletarian identity through the 1920s. The “working class” is considered as an imagined community, which at the time was still to be constructed. The real food diets were less effective as a unifying basis than food metaphors describing cultural consumption. The creation of the sense of community was performed essentially through the juxtaposition of “ours” and “others”; and the metaphorical language allowed for a more precise drawing of the borderlines and smoothing out of potential internal contradictions. The substitution of the “cultural” for the real food was taking place not only in print but also in the everyday life, which is examined through the case study of cultural work during the lunch break.
Gusarova, K.O. 2012. The “Vital Food of Proletariat”: Constructing the Proletarian Identity in the USSR of the 1920s. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 5: 71-83
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