Module 2 Academic Context
Sheila Fitzpatrick's Everyday Stalinism: Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times: Soviet Russia in the 1930s is a work of social history, telling history "from below". "History from below" was a phrase coined by the French historian Lucien Febvre of the Annales School—an approach to history that emphasized the study of "total history". This meant looking at the "everyday" in addition to dramatic events, and at factors such as geography and economic development. There were two major approaches to Russian history in the twentieth century: the totalitarian and the revisionist. A major proponent of the totalitarian model was the American political scientist Zbigniew Brzezinski. He and others identified different aspects of totalitarian regimes, such as a guiding ideology, control of the media and communications, state planning in the economy, and widespread terror. One of the key elements of revisionism was to reject the idea that Stalinism, terror, and totalitarianism were essential features of Soviet life.