5 Pages

Module 6 Secondary Ideas

WithVictor Petrov, Riley Quinn

While the main claims of Everyday Stalinism rest on Sheila Fitzpatrick's arguments about the shortage economy, her investigation of a wide range of everyday practices reveals many secondary arguments about different aspects of Soviet life. These secondary areas include family, social mobility, repression, and propaganda. Fitzpatrick's focus on family and on women builds on a new interest in Soviet gender politics by scholars such as Wendy Goldman, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. Fitzpatrick describes how state propaganda of 1930s focused on how society could become more civilized by purchasing certain products, such as personal hygiene goods. She also explores the changes to family life that Stalinism brought about. She delineates the division between women in high-ranking positions or the wives of powerful members of Communist Party, and those who worked in factories and were married to ordinary workers. She argues that for higher-placed women, the priorities were duty to their husbands, homemaking, and presenting a cultured and loyal image.