Accepted paper:

Double Utopia: construction of Soviet folklore


Toms Ķencis (Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art)

Paper short abstract:

Soviet folklore as a newly constructed research object was shaped by the fusion of two utopian projects: location of the folk creativity among class-defined others on the one hand and revolutionary modernization of Soviet society and consciousness of Soviet people on the other hand.

Paper long abstract:

Folkloristics in post-war Latvia (Soviet Socialistic Republic of Latvia) was facing a new task: collection and research of new, Soviet folklore. Due to the particular definition of this research object, the collection and invention practices merged into a functional whole, while theoretical side of the research exposed a set of centre-periphery dynamics in the grand scheme of Soviet knowledge production system. The new folklore and folkloristics combined two utopias: an antimodernist understanding of class-related creativity and a modernizing project of new society, new man and new consciousness. The project of new folklore took shape within a complicated discourse of dogmatic theory, ideology of atheism, and cult of authority. All those facets have left their traces in post-war works on folklore materials, but a more detailed analysis also reveals multiple intersections of institutional agendas and positions of particular agents operating within the field: from representations of straight-forward state propaganda to ironic resistance within the system of knowledge production.

panel SPS004
Socialist heritage, memories, realities