In Search of Socialist Culture: Culture and Politics in Krakow and Leipzig, 1945-1970


EES Dissertation




This dissertation explores efforts to construct a distinctive socialist culture in two major cities of the Soviet Bloc: Krakow in Poland and Leipzig in East Germany. Local officials in both cities treated culture as a political priority and devoted much time and resources to organizing cultural life on the ground. This dissertation investigates what they sought to accomplish and what they did to bring this about. It uses a comparative approach to examine the Polish and East German cultural projects and trace their evolution over time. It also assesses how these changing projects affected each city's cultural scene. The dissertation explores key artistic developments in Krakow and Leipzig, as well as shifting patterns of popular cultural participation. It follows the triangular relationship between cultural officials, artists, and audiences, and analyzes how the interaction between these three groups shaped cultural life in both Krakow and Leipzig.