Cover image for Consuming Russia : popular culture, sex, and society since Gorbachev
Consuming Russia : popular culture, sex, and society since Gorbachev
Barker, Adele Marie, 1946-
Publication Information:
Durham [N.C.] : Duke University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xiii, 473 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Reading Level:
1580 Lexile.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DK510.762 .C66 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



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.

Contributors. 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

Author Notes

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.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This collection of articles clearly encompasses subjects that are currently the rage in academic circles. Such compilations are notoriously uneven, and Barker's volume is no exception. Part of the problem stems from the effort to find a unified approach in the methodologies employed by such diverse disciplines as history, political science, language and literature, "cultural studies," sociology, and art history. A larger part, however, is a result of the unrelenting postmodernism of many of the contributions. Intellectual faddishness aside, some are interesting and even thought-provoking, but others strike one as marginal and of transitory value. Among the former are the three pieces by the editor and those of Bushnell, Condee, Edelman, Kornblat, Larsen, and Sabonis-Chafee. Touching, inter alia, on nationalist graffiti, tatooing, reborn Russian Orthodoxy, kitsch, pets, and the postcommunist cinema, these nine are the strongest of the lot. The remainder are unequally divided between a broad group that, although mildly interesting, really do not reach for the reader's attention and a smaller group of rather questionable academic value. General readers; undergraduates. G. E. Snow; Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Part I Introduction
1 Rereading RussiaAdele Marie Barker
2 The Culture Factory: Theorizing the Popular in the Old and New RussiaAdele Marie Barker
Part II Popular Culture
3 Public Offerings: MMM and the Marketing of MelodramaEliot Borenstein
4 Gagarin and the Rave Kids: Transforming Power, Identity, and Aesthetics in Post-Soviet NightlifeAlexei Yurchak
5 Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Holy Rus' and Its Alternatives in Russian Rock MusicJulia P. Friedman and Adam Weiner
6 Popular Children's Culture in Post-Perestroika Russia: Songs of Innocence and Experience RevisitedElizabeth Kristofovich Zelensky
7 Markets, Mirrors, and Mayhem: Aleksandra Marinina and the Rise of the New Russian DetektivCatharine Theimer Nepomnyashchy
8 In Search of an Audience: The New Russian Cinema of ReconciliationSusan Larsen
9 There Are no Rules on Planet Russia: Post-Soviet Spectator SportRobert Edelman
10 Saying "Lenin" and Meaning "Party": Subversion and Laughter in Soviet and Post-Soviet SocietyAnna Krylova
11 Going to the Dogs: Pet Life in the New RussiaAdele Marie Barker
Part III Sexualities
12 Publicly Queer: Representations of Queer Subjects and Subjectivities in the Absence of IdentityLaurie Essig
13 Queer Performance: "Male" BalletTim Scholl
14 Pornography in RussiaPaul W. Goldschmidt
Part IV Society and Social Artifacts
15 Body Graphics: Tattooing the Fall of CommunismNancy Condee
16 Communism as Kitsch: Soviet Symbols in Post-Soviet SocietyTheresa Sabonis-Chafee
17 From the Toilet to the Museum: Memory and Metamorphosis of Soviet TrashSvetlana Boym
18 Paranoid Graffiti at Execution Wall: Nationalist Interpretations of Russia's TravailJohn Bushnell
19 "Christianity, Antisemitism, Nationalism": Russian Orthodoxy in a Reborn Orthodox RussiaJudith Deutsch Kornblatt
20 Suspending Disbelief: "Cults" and Postmodernism in Post-Soviet RussiaEliot Borenstein