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THE MODERNITY OF MANUAL REPRODUCTION: Soviet Propaganda and the Creative Life of Ideology

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ABSTRACT

In supposedly postideological times, late Soviet propaganda seems to epitomize the futile practices of a moribund regime. Instead, the material practices of ideological transmission in the 1960s and 1970s Soviet Union urge us to reconsider how ideas gain mobilizing  force in a variety of political settings. This article looks at the use of handmade artifacts and personalized performances in Soviet cultural work to argue that personal reproduction is a crucial mediating factor between counterintuitive, utopian ideas and lived experience. As comparisons between the Soviet case and post-Soviet movements show, semiotic slippages that take documented activity as evidence of broader social dynamism remain key to the sense of agency of mobilizing networks.

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