Cold war in the kitchen: gender and de-stalinization of consumer taste in the soviet union under khrushchev.

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Consumption became a central issue in the post-Soviet culture when living standards became an important aspect of state policy during the 1950’s, under the peaceful competition of the new, morerelaxed phase of the cold war. This period is framed by two popular revolts both of which were caused by issues of consumption: the uprising by workers in the German Democratic Republic in June, 1953; andthe revolt by workers in the southern Russian city of Novocherkassk in June, 1962 over high prices and low wages. These events illustrated the importance of consumption during the de-Stalinization inthe Soviet Union.
To discuss consumerism in the Soviet context may seem odd. During the Soviet regime production was prioritized over consumption; and despite the increased attention to livingstandards in the 1950’s, Soviet culture remained one of shortages. During this time Nikita Khrushchev’s government introduced the commercial culture that had as much to do with manipulation of desiresas with their satisfaction.
A conference of government functionaries assigned to work in advertisement from socialist countries was convened in Prague in 1957 to define the purpose of advertisementin a socialist economy. This group concluded that the goal of advertisement in a socialist regime was to inform about rational modes of consumption, to raise the culture of trade, and mostimportantly to educate consumers’ taste and shape their requirements. Socialist advertisement was designed overall to predict and manage popular desires. These goals were a clear contrast of the ones from thewest, which were to create demand.
With respect to rational need, these were requirements that attuned the self-development of the individual attuned with the development of society as a whole.Rational consumption was an aspect of socialist life, which imposed self-discipline and voluntary submission of the individual to the collective will. Under the socialist government people acquired for...
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