274 pages | 21 B/W Illus.
This book explores how intellectuals of the later Soviet decades – the 1970s and 1980s – sought to bring about the socialist utopian world. It argues that the last two decades of the Soviet Union were not characterised by state withdrawal and malaise, as some scholars have argued; attempts to envisage and enact Utopia remained as imaginative and creative as ever. The book considers what these utopian ideas looked like through housing schemes, layouts of districts and cities, design of objects and interiors, and proposals for the organisation of family and social life. Relating developments in the Soviet Union to evolving social theory and postmodernism more broadly, the book draws transnational parallels between the intellectual history of east and west in the late twentieth century.
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Social and economic control under developed socialism: themes and context
Part I: Everyday Urbanity
Chapter 3: Social life in the microdistrict: forging a new type of collective
Chapter 4: Humanised urban design: visions and realities of city planning
Part II: Domesticity and Khoziaistvo
Chapter 5: From ‘machine’ to ‘organism’: changing views on the nature of the living cell
Chapter 6: Khoziaistvo in the socialist city: organising byt and family life
Part III: Everyday Objects
Chapter 7: Managing consumption and rehabilitating the object-world
Chapter 8: Postmodernism with a Socialist Realist face?
Chapter 9: Conclusion