An Analysis of Sheila Fitzpatrick's Everyday Stalinism : Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times: Soviet Russia in the 1930s book cover
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An Analysis of Sheila Fitzpatrick's Everyday Stalinism
Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times: Soviet Russia in the 1930s





ISBN 9781912128105
Published July 12, 2017 by Macat Library
92 Pages

 
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Book Description

How was the Soviet Union like a soup kitchen? In this important and highly revisionist work, historian Sheila Fitzpatrick explains that a reimagining of the Communist state as a provider of goods for the ‘deserving poor’ can be seen as a powerful metaphor for understanding Soviet life as a whole. By positioning the state both as a provider and as a relief agency, Fitzpatrick establishes it as not so much a prison (the metaphor favoured by many of her predecessors), but more the agency that made possible a way of life.

Fitzpatrick’s real claim to originality, however, is to look at the relationship between the all-powerful totalitarian government and its own people from both sides – and to demonstrate that the Soviet people were not totally devoid of either agency or resources. Rather, they successfully developed practices that helped them to navigate everyday life at a time of considerable danger and multiple shortages. For many, Fitzpatrick shows, becoming an informer and reporting fellow citizens – even family and friends – to the state was a successful survival strategy.

Fitzpatrick's work is noted mainly as an example of the critical thinking skill of reasoning; she marshals evidence and arguments to deliver a highly persuasive revisionist description of everyday life in Soviet time. However, her book has been criticized for the way in which it deals with possible counter-arguments, not least the charge that many of the interviewees on whose experiences she bases much of her analysis were not typical products of the Soviet system.

Table of Contents

Ways in to the text 

Who was Sheila Fitzpatrick? 

What does Everyday Stalinism: Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times: Soviet Russia in the 1930s Say? 

Section 1: Influences 

Module 1: The Author and the Historical Context 

Module 2: Academic Context 

Module 3: The Problem 

Module 4: The Author's Contribution 

Section 2: Ideas 

Module 5: Main Ideas 

Module 6: Secondary Ideas 

Module 7: Achievement 

Module 8: Place in the Author's Work 

Section 3: Impact 

Module 9: The First Responses 

Module 10: The Evolving Debate 

Module 11: Impact and Influence Today 

Module 12: Where Next? 

Glossary of Terms 

People Mentioned in the Text 

Works Cited

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Author(s)

Biography

Victor Petrov is a PhD candidate in Modern European History at Columbia University, where his research focuses on Eastern Europe. He received his BA (2009) and M.Phil.(2011) in Modern History from Oxford University.

Riley Quinn holds Master’s degrees in Politics and International Relations from both LSE and the University of Oxford.