Just look around, she enthused, how these furnishings evoke the dawn fog, the rain-soaked highway, the pebbles on the lakeshore! Radical architects and designers, many of whom were members of the early-twentieth-century avant-garde, stepped in to provide the design of socialism Stade 1993. In chapter 1, Fehérváry reviews several local frameworks for evaluating the material environment that reappear throughout the book; she then provides four chapters tracing evolving aesthetic regimes under socialism. Fehervary's approach not only brings a fresh look at the period through its focus on everyday materialities but also offers a welcome correction to the often-simplified understandings of abrupt socialist-capitalist change. These modern furnishings were linked with Western designs, but were also iconic of socialist visions for an egalitarian, civilized society. The city was thus an ideal site in which to investigate how the socialist state had forged new relationships among the state, material goods, and people, and how these were being transformed in a post-socialist environment. For example, particular colors reds, oranges, and browns , textures wool, wood , aromas cinnamon, musk and so on can all become associated with physical warmth.
Shakow argues these accusations constitute strategic claims to morality, and shows the dire political consequences they can have where competition for government controlled resources is stiff. Campaigns, seminars, slogans, news media, statuary, staged demonstrations, and even socialist advertising and packaging were all recruited for this task. Normal Life in the Former Socialist City 2. The book shows that modernism can be historicized across Cold War divides, as a global movement; as such it expands the reach of this important category while insisting on the many local specificities that appeared under a modernist banner. Along the Bolivian Highway: Social Mobility and Political Culture in a New Middle Class. The accompanying photo featured silver frames and silvery satins, a velvet armchair in gun-metal gray, coal-colored pillows strewn on a soft, light gray carpet, and a lamp shade the color of anthracite.
After 1989, Organicist Modern aesthetics moved from a marginalized position to become the official design ideology of the new, fully independent Hungary. One could argue that such a normalizing discourse is precisely the mechanism by which older forms of consumption are replaced by newer, more elaborate forms. The socialist state's project of creating an alternative modernity was built upon a diametric opposition to bourgeois capitalism as it was understood to exist in the West. By the 1980s, jeans had become fairly mainstream Hammer 2010. In sympathy with communist ideas, they believed radical social transformation was only possible with a complete rupture from the past, by taking people out of their familiar surroundings and immersing them in a material world stripped of all conventional signs and decorative artifice. Desire was less for consumer goods in and of themselves than for a kind of political-economic system that allowed for creative productivity, intimate social relationships, aesthetic pleasures, and free expression without fear of state retribution.
After the Stalin era came to an end in the mid-1950s, politicians throughout the Soviet bloc were faced with populations tired of sacrifice and increasingly aware of the growing prosperity in the postwar West. Desire for high- quality comforts, conveniences , and health care, as James Ferguson 2002 has argued, is not the same as imitation and loss of cultural authenticity. Yurchak's achievement is to demonstrate how many people in the Soviet Union, particularly urban, educated youth coming of age in the last decades of the Soviet era, neither resisted nor embraced socialist ideology and state activities. If you want to update your library, travel, see the world; if you want to have a livable home, drive a normal car, and occasionally have a respectable dinner—for these you need a small fortune. Godless communism did indeed condemn institutionalized religion for conditioning the working masses to await reward for their suffering in an afterlife, but communism also invested the mundane, material world with godliness in the form of gargantuan factories, planned cities, and collective residential forms.
Material culture in Eastern Europe under state socialism is remembered as uniformly gray, shabby, and monotonous-the worst of postwar modernist architecture and design. But the consumption and use of material goods is usually about far more than this. In what sense was socialist citizenship also a form of consumer citizenship? Fehérváry's approach not only brings a fresh look at the period through its focus on everyday materialities but also offers a welcome correction to the often-simplified understandings of abrupt socialist—capitalist change. Although the socialist state had been concerned with social equality, it firmly established the correspondence between the qualities of people and the qualities of the materials surrounding them. Instead, the public had to be educated in how they were to experience and be transformed by them. The color gray, for example, counts as a qualisign, as does a texture like softness or a property like luminosity. The buildings, furnishings, and other infrastructure constructed under state auspices did not have the determining effects theorized and desired by designers, planners, and party ideologues—even with explicit discursive framing.
The New Family House and the New Middle Class Epilogue Conclusion: Heterotopias of the Normal in Private Worlds Material culture in Eastern Europe under state socialism is remembered as uniformly gray, shabby, and monotonous? This engaging study decenters conventional perspectives on consumer capitalism, home ownership, and citizenship in the new Europe. Shakow simultaneously opens other avenues of thought for grappling with the same issue. Politics in Color and Concrete revisits this history by exploring domestic space in Hungary from the 1950s through the 1990s and reconstructs the multi-textured and politicized aesthetics of daily life through the objects, spaces, and colors that made up this lived environment. Focusing on the model socialist city of Dunaújváros, Fehérváry shows how these aesthetic regimes were at once connected to explicit state policies and theories about the role of material life in social transformation, and to the everyday experience of these materialities as intensely political. Scholars and journalists have tended to reproduce these binaries in describing everyday life during the socialist decades. Qualities in material goods such as durability and functionality , innovative styling, and user- friendly or beautiful design were material evidence of the well- being that many people had long assumed their counterparts in West ern Europe enjoyed.
The problem is that once you have gotten your nifty new product, the politics in color and concrete fehrvry krisztina gets a brief glance, maybe a once over, but it often tends to get discarded or lost with the original packaging. My fieldwork has focused primarily on state-socialist and post-socialist eastern Europe especially Hungary , but I have also carried out ethnographic research in the United States. Finally, material objects can provoke powerful affective responses with their qualities, designs, or aesthetic assemblages. In it we learn how collections of things and people, structured in relation to each other by deeply-rooted historical forms of class consciousness, served the self-fashioning aims of Hungarians from 1950 to the late 1990s. This engaging study decenters conventional perspectives on consumer capitalism, home ownership, and citizenship in the new Europe. Krisztina Féherváry shows that contemporary standards of living and ideas about normalcy have roots in late socialist consumer culture and are not merely products of postsocialist transitions or neoliberalism. Socialization draws our attention to particular aspects of the material and makes sense of these interactions in time and space, as we learn to recognize discrete objects and attach significance to them.
¹² While discursive framing, socialization, and previous encounters with particular materialities play a role in these responses, they cannot determine the phenomenological and affective experience of them. This correspondence was seamlessly taken up by commercial rhetoric in the 1990s, legitimating the free market and, with it, social inequalities. Instead of the stereotypical socialism of long queues and shoddy goods, she presents a Hungarian Communist Party that actively created demanding consumers, who insisted that it meet its own standards. Aesthetic Regimes and Transforming Cosmologies The material transformations to Hungarian domestic space from the 1950s to 2000 both reflected and produced understandings about the value of citizens in society and the nature of the political and economic regime governing them. I appreciated Fehervary's critical insights into topics as diverse as gendered personhood, folklorization, and Janos Kornai's economic models. Indeed, labor was the activity that constituted one as a full member of society, as part of a nation of working people dolgozó nép Stewart 1993:192.
But clearly such an aesthetic did not arise overnight, emerging fully formed out of some supposed state socialist material wasteland. This prestige, conjoined with its former revolutionary pedigree, contributed to its appeal. Although capitalist consumer culture is usually blamed for aligning the quality of people with the qualities of goods, it was under state socialism that Hungarian citizens learned to judge themselves by their appropriation of modern commodities— from new apartments to colorful plastic kitchen trays. We tend to associate gray with what is boring, but there are a thousand kinds of gray, and when combined with colors its varieties are endless, wrote the author as she described a lush interior of multiple textures and hues of gray created by a decorating firm called Zinc. Krisztina Féherváry shows that contemporary standards of living and ideas about normalcy have roots in late socialist consumer culture and are not merely products of postsocialist transitions or neoliberalism. Politics in Color and Concrete revisits this history by exploring domestic space in Hungary from the 1950s through the 1990s and reconstructs the multi-textured and politicized aesthetics of daily life through the objects, spaces, and colors that made up this lived environment. ¹ Run-down built environments, industrial pollution, second-rate consumer goods, and uniformity were indexes less of scarcity than of an oppressive and negligent state.
Nonetheless, the house as home remains an attractive site for social reformers, as they continue to see in its material forms the power to engineer social change. But gray continues to color both perceptions of the region from elsewhere as well as the desires and ambitions of an aspiring middle class in Hungary to achieve membership in a wider community of value. Politics In Color And Concrete Fehrvry Krisztina can be very useful guide, and politics in color and concrete fehrvry krisztina play an important role in your products. Politics in Color and Concrete: Socialist Materialities and the Middle Class in Hungary. The planned city of Dunaújváros, where I conducted my fieldwork, had come to epitomize the gray of state socialism. Moreover, much consumption was promoted by state organs, and people sought out and purchased goods for a variety of reasons. For example, consumption was far less politicized than it was Romania see Verdery 1996:27—29 —in part because goods and venues for goods were more abundant.