Olga Shevchenko

Awful crisis superstar. Disasters and routinization

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Post-Socialism; Russia; Narrative of Crisis; Disorder; Transition; Putin Era; Public Space.

This article examines the first post-socialist decade in Russia as a case of protracted or chronic crisis. It suggests that in such prolonged social upheavals narratives of crisis, collapse and disorder not only coexist with but are also constitutive of processes of social becoming. Indeed, crisis imagery became so commonsensical in Russia during the period that it started to play a noticeable role in how post-socialist subjects constructed their individual and collective identities, managed their daily problems and responded to opportunities that their environment presented them. The symbolic language of autonomy and self-sufficiency associated with the crisis offered individuals a new vocabulary for self-imagining and contained some potential for articulating group interests. But it also paved the way for the policies of the Putin era by providing a rationale for widespread privatization of public space and public problems, and by exaggerating the extent to which the individuals were indeed independent of larger political and economic disruptions. The experience of the 1990s in Russia is thus crucial to understanding both the country's current cultural moment and, more broadly, the way in which protracted social crises transform individual subjectivities and the ground rules of everyday life.

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