Patrick H. Patterson
- University of California, San Diego
Eotvos Lorand Tudomanyegyetem Summer Hungarian Language Course
Socialist Societies Consumed: The Culture of the Market and Everyday Life in Eastern Europe and the Balkans
This comparative, interdisciplinary project assesses the nature and significance of socialist consumer culture. Examining the experience of communism with an eye to post-1989 transformations, it juxtaposes Yugoslavia's enthusiastic embrace of the styles, values, and practices of consumer society with the vivid but more constrained East German experience and with Hungary's flirtations with a consumerist "refrigerator socialism" deployed to quiet discontent after the revolution of 1956. I pursue a broad transnational perspective, reading these critical cases against evidence from other communist societies. Challenging prevailing interpretations of the region's history, the research tests the global reach -- and limits -- of capitalist economics and market culture.