This volume examines Marxist theory, attempting to break down the divisions between history, philosophy and literary theory. Igor Halfin's approach is methodological, combining intellectual and social history to argue that if we are to take the Bolshevik revolutionary experiment seriously we have to examine the ideological presupposition of both communist ideological texts as well as the archival documents that social historians believe represent the true reflections of lived experience in order to determine what impacts these texts had on actual reality. Marxism, class and consciousness should be turned from a subject of analysis to its object. The work begins by examining the Marxist philosophy of history as understood by the Russian Revolutionary movement. Halfin argues that the Soviet government derived its cues as to how it could bring about a classless society from a peculiar blend of eschatological thinking with modern techniques of power. Halfin then offers a case study of the Bolshevik attempt in the 1920s to create the ""Communist New Man"" by amalgamating the characteristics of the intellectual and the worker in order to eradicate the petit-bourgeois traits attributed by the regime to the pre-revolutionary individualistic and decadent student. His approach suggests that ""proletarianization"" should be understood not as a change in the social composition of the student body, but as the introduction of the language of class into the universities. Through an examination of the process of the literary construction of class identity, Halfin concludes that the student class affiliation in the Soviet Union of the 1920s was not simply a matter of social origins, but of students' ability to defend their claims to a working-class identity, using a set of ritualized procedures.
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
Number of pages: 416
Weight: 685 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 29 mm
Erudite, stimulating, and important. . . . A book that deserves to be read from cover to cover and savored. Even those who disagree with its premises and conclusions will find more than ample reward.
"Erudite, stimulating, and important. . . . A book that deserves to be read from cover to cover and savored. Even those who disagree with its premises and conclusions will find more than ample reward."