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SOCIALIST ESCAPES

Breaking Away from Ideology and Everyday Routine in Eastern Europe, 1945-1989

Edited by Cathleen M. Giustino, Catherine J. Plum, and Alexander Vari

296 pages, 12 figures, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-0-85745-669-4 $105.00/£65.00 Hb Published (March 2013)

eISBN 978-0-85745-670-0 $105.00/£65.00 eBook Published


Hb eBook
 

“… a rare book. It is rare because amidst a plethora of social sciences and historical literature it does not join a chorus of socialism’s dismissal, and amidst a range of anthropological literature it does not simply investigate socialism’s effects on people’s everyday economic, cultural, and social lives… Rather, it seeks to highlight those effects that are usually neglected and negated: the possibility of pleasure and fun of living in the socialist world…[and] provides a much-needed antidote to stereotyped representations of socialism as monotonous, dreary, and dull... Scholars and students of anthropology, sociology, political science, and Eastern European and Slavic studies are sure to enjoy this book."  ·  Anthropology of East Europe Review

“There is much to admire in this volume, which will be useful to more than just specialists or students of the socialist bloc. As Giustino points out, socialist leisure was embedded in a longer history of industrial capitalism. This volume therefore makes a welcome contribution to our understanding of links between leisure and conformity, between ideology and agency, that transcend the differences between communism and capitalism.”  ·  German Studies Review

"The biggest accomplishment of [this] volume lies in [its] ability to overcome the limits of the popular binary oppositions such as the state vs. the people, oppression vs. resistance, official culture vs. counter-culture, official market vs. black/gray markets, etc. …[It] draws the reader's attention to the complexity of relations and networks under state socialism and add many colors to the everyday life experiences in socialist Central and Eastern Europe, still commonly related to as gray."  ·  AHEA: E-Journal of the American Hungarian Educators Association

“…a superb collection of essays focusing on what the authors refer to as ‘socialist escapes’ in postwar eastern Europe under state socialism, i.e., on the everyday efforts of ordinary individuals to escape regime regimentation and control, as well as the challenges of everyday life, through a variety of leisure pursuits and activities...Written by a group of talented young scholars who demonstrate a thorough grounding in the former East European archives, the essays are well written and cohere very nicely.  ·  Andrew I. Port, Wayne State University

During much of the Cold War, physical escape from countries in the East Bloc was a near impossible act. There remained, however, possibilities for other socialist escapes, particularly time away from party ideology and the mundane routines of everyday life. The essays in this volume examine sites of socialist escapes, such as beaches, camp sites, nightclubs, concerts, castles, cars, and soccer matches. The chapters explore the effectiveness of state efforts to engineer society through leisure, entertainment, and related forms of cultural programming and consumption, as it was in leisure and tourism that the party’s intentions encountered Eigen-Sinn, the pursuit of individual interests. This volume leads to a deeper understanding of state– society relations in the East Bloc, where the state did not simply “dictate from above” and inhabitants had some opportunities to shape solidarities, identities, and meaning.

Cathleen M. Giustino is Professor of History at Auburn University where she teaches courses on modern Central and Eastern European history.

Catherine J. Plum is Associate Professor of History at Western New England University where she teaches courses on modern European and German history.

Alexander Vari is Associate Professor of Modern European History at Marywood University.


LC: DJK50.S63 2012

BL: m13/.14554 DSC

BISAC: HIS010010 HISTORY/Europe/Eastern; HIS054000 HISTORY/Social History; HIS037070 HISTORY/Modern/20th Century

BIC: HBJD European history; HBTB Social & cultural history



Contents

Preface with Acknowledgments
List of Figures

INTRODUCTION

Chapter 1. Escaping the Monotony of Everyday Life under Socialism
Alexander Vari

CONCERT HALLS AND ESTATE MUSEUMS

Chapter 2. Instrumentalizing Entertainment and Education: Early Cold War Music Festivals in East Germany and Poland
David Tompkins

Chapter 3. Open Gates and Wandering Minds: Codes, Castles, and Chateaux in Socialist Czechoslovakia before 1960
Cathleen M. Giustino

CABINS IN THE WOODS

Chapter 4. Encountering Poland’s “Wild West”: Tourism in the Bieszczady Mountains under Socialism
Patrice M. Dabrowski

Chapter 5. Summer Camp for Socialists: Conformity and Escapism at Camp Mitschurin in East Germany
Catherine J. Plum

BEACH PARTIES

Chapter 6. From the Party to the Beach Party: Nudism and Artistic Expression in the People’s Republic of Romania
Irina Costache

Chapter 7. Smoke and Beers: Touristic Escapes and Places to Party in Socialist Bulgaria, 1956-1976
Mary Neuburger

ROADSIDE ADVENTURES AND BRIGHT CITY LIGHTS

Chapter 8. Hitchhikers’ Paradise: The Intersection of Mass Mobility, Consumer Demand, and Ideology in the People’s Republic of Poland
Mark Keck-Szajbel

Chapter 9. Nocturnal Entertainments, Five-Star Hotels, and Youth Counterculture: Re-Inventing Budapest’s Nightlife under Socialism
Alexander Vari

SPORTS AND STADIA

Chapter 10. Getting off Track in East Germany: Adolescent Motorcycle Fans and Honecker’s Consumer Socialism
Caroline Fricke

Chapter 11. Power at Play: Soccer Stadiums and Popular Culture in 1980s Romania
Florin Poenaru

CONCLUSION

Chapter 12. Escapes and Other Border Crossings in Socialist Eastern Europe
Cathleen M. Giustino

Selected Bibliography
Notes on Contributors
Index

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