Youth and Rock in the Soviet Bloc
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Youth and Rock in the Soviet Bloc : Youth Cultures, Music, and the State in Russia and Eastern Europe

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Youth and Rock in the Soviet Bloc explores the rise of youth as consumers of popular culture and the globalization of popular music in Russia and Eastern Europe. This collection of essays challenges assumptions that Communist leaders and Western-influenced youth cultures were inimically hostile to one another. While initially banning Western cultural trends like jazz and rock-and-roll, Communist leaders accommodated elements of rock and pop music to develop their own socialist popular music. They promoted organized forms of leisure to turn young people away from excesses of style perceived to be Western. Popular song and officially sponsored rock and pop bands formed a socialist beat that young people listened and danced to. Young people attracted to the music and subcultures of the capitalist West still shared the values and behaviors of their peers in Communist youth organizations. Despite problems providing youth with consumer goods, leaders of Soviet bloc states fostered a socialist alternative to the modernity the capitalist West promised. Underground rock musicians thus shared assumptions about culture that Communist leaders had instilled. Still, competing with influences from the capitalist West had its limits. State-sponsored rock festivals and rock bands encouraged a spirit of rebellion among young people. Official perceptions of what constituted culture limited options for accommodating rock and pop music and Western youth cultures. Youth countercultures that originated in the capitalist West, like hippies and punks, challenged the legitimacy of Communist youth organizations and their sponsors. Government media and police organs wound up creating oppositional identities among youth gangs. Failing to provide enough Western cultural goods to provincial cities helped fuel resentment over the Soviet Union's capital, Moscow, and encourage support for breakaway nationalist movements that led to the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991. Despite the Cold War, in both the Soviet bloc and in the capitalist West, political elites responded to perceived threats posed by youth cultures and music in similar manners. Young people participated in a global youth culture while expressing their own local views of the world.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 318 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 25.4mm | 589.67g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 073916693X
  • 9780739166932

About William Jay Risch

William Jay Risch is associate professor of history at Georgia College.show more

Review quote

Risch and his collaborators demonstrate ... [that] this music and its complex subcultures mattered deeply across Eastern Europe. They are giving it the renewed attention it deserves. The Russian Review This is the first serious attempt to bring scholarly work on music and youth (sub)cultures in the Eastern Bloc together in a comparative fashion. It provides an excellent entry to the topic for non-experts. The volume is an interesting and innovative contribution to an emerging and developing debate. -- Mark Fenemore, Manchester Metropolitan University This is a well-written, engaging and exceedingly informative collection of articles telling us how late socialist states related to rock music and the youth, who listened to it. Even better, many articles also tell us how late socialist youth related to the Western or Western-inspired music they loved and to the political regimes, which felt so ambivalent about it. The result is a mosaic of solidly researched pieces that manages to side-step easy binaries of opposition and conformity and highlight the many different layers of "in-between"-between private and public, between East and West, between freedom and repression-that characterized how youth cultural agents and the socialist states interacted with each other. -- Juliane Furst, University of Bristolshow more

Table of contents

Table of Contents Introduction 1 Chapter One: Dean Vuletic, "Swinging between East and West: Yugoslav Communism and the Dilemmas of Popular Music" 37 Chapter Two: David G. Tompkins, "Against 'Pop-Song Poison' from the West: Early Cold War Attempts to Develop a Socialist Popular Music in Poland and the GDR" 64 Chapter Three: Gleb Tsipursky, "Coercion and Consumption: The Khrushchev Leadership's Ruling Style in the Campaign against 'Westernized' Youth, 1954-64" 82 Chapter Four: William Jay Risch, "Only Rock-n-Roll? Rock Music, Hippies, and Urban Identities in Lviv and Wroclaw, 1965-1980" 128 Chapter Five: Sandor Horvath, "The Making of the Gang: Consumers of the Socialist Beat in Hungary" 161 Chapter Six: Sergei I. Zhuk, "Detente and Western Cultural Products in Soviet Ukraine during the 1970s" 184 Chapter Seven: Kate Gerrard, "Punk and the State of Youth in the GDR" 243 Chapter Eight: Polly McMichael, "'A Room-Sized Ocean': Apartments in the Practice and Mythology of Leningrad's Rock Music" 289 Chapter Nine: Gregory Kveberg, "Shostakovich versus Boney M.: Culture, Status, and History in the Debate over Soviet Diskoteki" 331 Chapter Ten: Tom Junes, "Facing the Music: How the Foundations of Socialism Were Rocked in Communist Poland" 357 Chapter Eleven: Christopher J. Ward, "Rockin' Down the Mainline: Rock Music during the Construction of the Baikal-Amur Mainline Railway (BAM), 1974-1984" 402 Chapter Twelve: Jonathyne Briggs, "East of (Teenaged) Eden, or Is Eastern Youth Culture So Different from the West?" 427 List of Contributors 455 Select Bibliography 460 Index 000show more

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