• Pleasures in Socialism: Leisure and Luxury in the Eastern Bloc

Crowley, David and Reid, Susan Emily, 2010, Book, Pleasures in Socialism: Leisure and Luxury in the Eastern Bloc Northwestern University Press, Evanston, IL. ISBN 0-8101-2690-7

Abstract or Description:

This book is a significant contribution to the studies of everyday life in Eastern Europe under communist rule. It is the third in a series of volumes edited and written with Susan E. Reid, which examine the material culture of the Eastern Bloc: see Style and Socialism (Berg, 2000) and Socialist Spaces (Berg, 2003). Reviewing these titles in the London Review of Books, Sheila Fitzpatrick credits Crowley and Reid as ‘two cultural historians who have played a leading role in the development of studies of the everyday in the former Soviet bloc’.

The 14 essays explore how leisure and the consumption of luxury goods formed zones that communist states sought to shape, and thereby to extend the reach of their authority. Yet at the same time, they also presented opportunities for people to assert their individuality and enjoy unlicensed pleasures. This contrasts strongly with the conventional scholarship on the Soviet Bloc, which stresses poverty and repression. Crowley's contribution was to write, with Reid, a 21,000-word critical review of existing debates about leisure and luxury in the Bloc and make a number of propositions about the way in which these concepts and practices need to be further conceptualised and researched. This essay also functions as an introduction to the book.

The origins of the book lie in a conference organised by Crowley and Reid at the V&A Museum in London in 2007. Following publication, Crowley was invited to talk about the themes in this volume at Södertörn University, Centre for Baltic and East European Studies in Stockholm (2012).

A review of this book was published in Slavic Review (2011). Crowley and Reid were also interviewed about the volume in an hour-long podcast for New Books in Eastern Europe Studies (2012).

AuthorMerkel, Ina
AuthorLebow, Katherine
AuthorZakharova, Anna
AuthorGronow, Jukka
AuthorZhuravlev, Sergei
AuthorRoth-Ey, Kristin
AuthorBren, Paulina
AuthorMoranda, Scott
AuthorMcLellan, Josie
AuthorPéteri, Gyuri
AuthorTulbare, Narcis
AuthorTikhomirova, Anna
Official URL: http://www.nupress.northwestern.edu/Title/tabid/68...
Subjects: Other > European Languages > R700 Russian and East European studies
Other > Historical and Philosophical studies > V300 History by topic > V370 History of Design
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2011 17:51
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2018 15:43
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/524
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