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Fragmented Mythologies: Soviet TV Mini-Series of the 1970s

Prokhorova, Elena (2003) Fragmented Mythologies: Soviet TV Mini-Series of the 1970s. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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My dissertation provides an analysis of the Soviet television mini-series released between the late 1960s and early 1980s, specifically the spy thriller, the police procedural, and the detective series. I argue that serialized production were an ideal form for the negotiation of the inherited models of individual and collective identity with the new cultural, social, and political values that came into play during the Brezhnev era. Chapter One provides an overview of Russian and Western studies of Soviet television and describes the methodology used in the three analytical chapters. I approach the three genres as variations of the socialist realist masterplot, which undergoes fragmentation and transformation in mini-series. Chapter Two discusses the spy thriller, which addresses the issue of "inside" vs. "outside" of the political system, revealing the absence of a stable meaning behind the category of the Soviet "us." My case studies in this chapter are Evgenii Tashkov's His Highness's Adjutant (1969) and Tat'iana Lioznova's Seventeen Moments of Spring (1973). Chapter Three analyzes the genre of police procedural. The "institutional" version of the genre—The Investigation Is Conducted by Experts (1971-89)--lays bare the absurdity of the Soviet economy, while The Meeting Place Cannot Be Changed (Stanislav Govorukhin 1979) redefines police narrative as a populist story of idealized past. Chapter Four discusses detective mini-series. As case studies I use the Aniskin series of made-for-TV films (1968, 1974, 1978) and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson (Igor' Maslennikov 1979-86). These productions use temporal and spatial displacement to construct a protagonist, whose status of positive hero is entirely determined by the utopian nature of the community he represents. In late Soviet culture, modernist utopia turns into a stylized "Victorian" past, which above all values stability. Finally, Conclusion discusses the role of Brezhnev era productions on post-Soviet television. I argue that these series both fulfill a "therapeutic" function by establishing a link with the past culture and serve as models for the construction of a new Russian identity. I interpret Russian television's privileging of the police procedural as the revival of Russians' search for a communal, rather than an individual identity.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Prokhorova, Elenaevpst1@pitt.eduEVPST1
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairPadunov, Vladimirpadunov@pitt.eduPADUNOV
Committee MemberStabile, Carolcstabile@pitt.eduCSTABILE
Committee MemberFeuer, Janescorpio@pitt.eduSCORPIO
Committee MemberVotruba, Martinvotruba@pitt.eduVOTRUBA
Committee MemberCondee, Nancycondee@pitt.eduCONDEE
Date: 17 November 2003
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 12 May 2003
Approval Date: 17 November 2003
Submission Date: 6 June 2003
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Slavic Languages and Literatures
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Film Studies; History of Russian Culture; Cultural Studies; Television
Other ID:, etd-06062003-164753
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:46
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:44


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