Pleasure, Power, and the Pursuit of Communism: State-Sponsored Youth Popular Culture in the Soviet Union, 1945-1968


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation is the first in-depth study of Soviet policy from 1945 to 1968. Since state-sponsored clubs, festivals, and cafes constituted a crucial site of activity for youth, policies on cultural leisure had a defining impact on youth socialization. This project examines the motivations for policy shifts among top-level officials; their realization at the local level; debates about youth cultural leisure in the press; and the responses of youth to these top-down initiatives. It argues that in the post-Stalin era, popular culture policy became fundamental to constructing youth identity, influencing consumption desires, contesting “western” popular culture, impacting state-building, shaping gender norms, inspiring generational tensions, and empowering youth agency.