Building Communism and Policing Deviance in the Soviet Union Residential Childcare, 1958–91
This book examines, through a detailed study of Soviet residential childcare homes and boarding schools, the much wider issues of Soviet policies towards deviance, social norms, repression, and social control. It reveals how through targeting children whose parents could not or did not take care of them, as well as children with disabilities, the system disproportionately involved children from socially marginal and poor families. It highlights how the system aimed to raise these children from the margins of society and transform them into healthy, happy, useful Soviet citizens, imbued with socialist values. The book also outlines how the system fitted in to Khrushchev’s reforms and social order policies, where the emphasis was on monitoring and controlling society without the recourse to direct repression and terror, and how continuity with this period was maintained even as the rest of Soviet society changed significantly.
Introduction 1. Policing deviance: Criminalizing poverty through residential childcare in the post-Stalinist USSR Families, poverty, and social problems: children’s way into care Child removal as a mechanism of policing deviance 2. Productivity and ‘defectology’: From a criminalization to a pathologization of deviance Socialist tradition and Stalinist legacy: collectivism, discipline, and control in education in education before the 1958 reform Reforming residential childcare (1958-1970s) The scientific groundwork of residential childcare: classification, disability, and medicalization Challenging the residential childcare system (1970s-1991 3. Managing residential childcare: A strategy of containment Management at the local level: living and working conditions in Soviet residential childcare Factors of change: the impact of inspections, personal dedication, and political pressures 4. Life in care as a way of life? Children’s institutional experiences and the difficult afterlife of care An ‘institutional’ life with distinct social rules and structures Leaving the institution: disculturation and stigma Conclusion