Consuming Russia

Popular Culture, Sex, and Society since Gorbachev

Consuming Russia

Book Pages: 488 Illustrations: 42 b&w photographs Published: July 1999

Cultural Studies, History > European History

With the collapse of the Soviet empire in the late 1980s, the Russian social landscape has undergone its most dramatic changes since the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, turning the once bland and monolithic state-run marketplace into a virtual maze of specialty shops—from sushi bars to discotheques and tattoo parlors. In Consuming Russia editor Adele Marie Barker presents the first book-length volume to explore the sweeping cultural transformation taking place in the new Russia.
The contributors examine how the people of Russia reconcile prerevolutionary elite culture—as well as the communist legacy—with the influx of popular influences from the West to build a society that no longer relies on a single dominant discourse and embraces the multiplicities of both public and private Russian life. Barker brings together Russian and American scholars from anthropology, history, literature, political science, sociology, and cultural studies. These experts fuse theoretical analysis with ethnographic research to analyze the rise of popular culture, covering topics as varied as post-Soviet rave culture, rock music, children and advertising, pyramid schemes, tattooing, pets, and spectator sports. They consider detective novels, anecdotes, issues of feminism and queer sexuality, nostalgia, the Russian cinema, and graffiti. Discussions of pornography, religious cults, and the deployment of Soviet ideological symbols as post-Soviet kitsch also help to demonstrate how the rebuilding of Russia’s political and economic infrastructure has been influenced by its citizens’ cultural production and consumption.
This volume will appeal to those engaged with post-Soviet studies, to anyone interested in the state of Russian society, and to readers more generally involved with the study of popular culture.

Adele Marie Barker, Eliot Borenstein, Svetlana Boym, John Bushnell, Nancy Condee, Robert Edelman, Laurie Essig, Julia P. Friedman, Paul W. Goldschmidt, Judith Deutsch Kornblatt, Anna Krylova, Susan Larsen, Catharine Theimer Nepomnyaschy, Theresa Sabonis-Chafee, Tim Scholl, Adam Weiner, Alexei Yurchak, Elizabeth Kristofovich Zelensky


“An invaluable key to reading the cultural salad of today’s Russia, useful to students as well as to their teachers. Barbie dolls, detective fiction, raves and the gay scene, tattoos and graffiti, even an Argentine soap opera that advertises a pyramid scheme: Consuming Russia is great as a classroom text and as a guidebook to the changing face of popular culture.” — James von Geldern, Macalester College

“This volume on post-Soviet Russian culture is noteworthy for its range and critical edge. The authors comment on the impact of Western productions and practices, as well as the reformulation of longstanding Russian traditions. Adele Barker is to be congratulated. From rock and sport to film and popular literature, here is a cook’s tour of the sad, curious, and sometimes marvelous carnival of post-Soviet public expression.” — Jeffrey Brooks, Johns Hopkins University


Availability: In stock
Price: $31.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Adele Marie Barker is Associate Professor of Russian and Comparative Cultural and Literary Studies at the University of Arizona. She is the author of The Mother Syndrome in the Russian Folk Imagination and coeditor of Dialogues/Dialogi: Literary and Cultural Exchanges between (Ex)Soviet and American Women, also published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top
List of Illustrations


Part I Introduction

1. Rereading Russia / Adele Marie Barker

2. The Culture Factory: Theorizing the Popular in the Old and New Russia / Adele Marie Barker

Part II Popular Culture

3. Public Offerings: MMM and the Marketing of Melodrama / Eliot Borenstein

4. Gagarin and the Rave Kids: Transforming Power, Identity, and Aesthetics in Post-Soviet Nightlife / Alexei Yurchak

5. Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Holy Rus' and Its Alternatives in Russian Rock Music / Julia P. Friedman and Adam Weiner

6. Popular Children's Culture in Post-Perestroika Russia: Songs of Innocence and Experience Revisited / Elizabeth Kristofovich Zelensky

7. Markets, Mirrors, and Mayhem: Aleksandra Marinina and the Rise of the New Russian Detektiv / Catharine Theimer Nepomnyashchy

8. In Search of an Audience: The New Russian Cinema of Reconciliation / Susan Larsen

9. There Are no Rules on Planet Russia: Post-Soviet Spectator Sport / Robert Edelman

10. Saying "Lenin" and Meaning "Party": Subversion and Laughter in Soviet and Post-Soviet Society / Anna Krylova

11. Going to the Dogs: Pet Life in the New Russia / Adele Marie Barker

Part III Sexualities

12. Publicly Queer: Representations of Queer Subjects and Subjectivities in the Absence of Identity / Laurie Essig

13. Queer Performance: "Male" Ballet / Tim Scholl

14. Pornography in Russia / Paul W. Goldschmidt

Part IV Society and Social Artifacts

15. Body Graphics: Tattooing the Fall of Communism / Nancy Condee

16. Communism as Kitsch: Soviet Symbols in Post-Soviet Society / Theresa Sabonis-Chafee

17. From the Toilet to the Museum: Memory and Metamorphosis of Soviet Trash / Svetlana Boym

18. Paranoid Graffiti at Execution Wall: Nationalist Interpretations of Russia's Travail / John Bushnell

19. "Christianity, Antisemitism, Nationalism": Russian Orthodoxy in a Reborn Orthodox Russia / Judith Deutsch Kornblatt

20. Suspending Disbelief: "Cults" and Postmodernism in Post-Soviet Russia / Eliot Borenstein


Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing
Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-2313-6 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2281-8
Publicity material