Chashchukhin A. V. Political communication and public authorities in the "workers’ questions" of the 1940s (.pdf)


The author tries to read one of the sources on the history of the Stalin era through the prism of the theory of performativity. At the party language, those documents were called “the questions raised by the workers at meetings, lectures, and conversations”. This genre of reporting, appearing in the 1920s, was widespread during the Great Patriotic War and continued to exist in subsequent periods. Those documents were the reports on political education among the workers and recorded the public reaction to the ongoing political action. The source makes it possible to identify certain features of the public mood of the Stalin era and to better understand the nature of political communications between the government and the population. The reports demonstrate the views of the agitators on political norms and deviance. Based on the analysis of the documents of the war and postwar period, the author concludes that during the war, the political space of the imaginary expanded in the views of workers. For workers, not only enemies and allies, but also countries such as Argentina, Turkey, Iran, China, Greece appeared in the sphere of actual knowledge. Meanwhile, the extension of the imaginary political map was accompanied by an extreme narrowing of the time perspective. This was due to the fatigue from the mobilization of the military system. Social expectations of workers increased drastically after the war. The split between expectations and saving mobilization military model created the basis for social tension and conflicts between the population and the local leadership. In this connection, the conflict received some recognition in the framework of the propaganda of the institutions created by the authorities. Lectures on the international situation and campaigning activities became a platform on which the worker was able of organizing his own performative utterance.


Key words: war, discourse, strategy, tactics, political agitation, images, imagined communities, subject.


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