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THE POST SOVIET CONDITION: CULTURAL RECONFIGURATIONS OF RUSSIAN IDENTITY

McCausland, Gerald Matthew (2007) THE POST SOVIET CONDITION: CULTURAL RECONFIGURATIONS OF RUSSIAN IDENTITY. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh.

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    Abstract

    This dissertation is an examination of the problematic of Russian identity as manifest in the prose literature and cinema during the last two decades of the twentieth century. The reassertion of Russian "national identity" in the post-Soviet Russian Federation masks a crisis, the historical roots of which extend back to the development of Imperial Russia. The analysis employs the tools of Lacanian psychoanalysis to diagnose this crisis and to analyze the almost unsurmountable difficulties involved in the struggle either to recover or to create anew a usable Russian identity for the twenty-first century.The first chapter reviews the theoretical literature on nationalism as well as studies of the problematic conception of Russian nationhood. It also grounds the use of Lacanian theory for cultural analysis and illustrates, through a case study of Ivan Dykhovichnyi's 1992 film Moscow Parade, the utility of a carefully deployed psychoanalytic interpretation of a cultural text from the period under consideration. The following four chapters contain analyses of four identifiable trends in late- and post-Soviet Russian literature and cinema. The heirs to the Village Prose movement, in their engagement with the postmodern environment of this period, reveal in their works an attempt to recover a "lost" identity that is trapped within the self-reflecting structure of an Imaginary Russia. Advocates of the postmodern in Russian culture deconstruct a Symbolic network of cultural texts in which the dissonant discourses of nation and empire generate an identity that seeks substance in the ephemeral. As the sots-art movement spread from graphic arts to literature and film, it illustrated the ultimate logic of a cultural identity based on the endless generation of ideological signifiers. Finally, the young writer Viktor Pelevin and filmmakers such as Karen Shakhnazarov illustrate the lure and the dangers of a culture that seizes upon fantasy as a way out of the cultural conundrum. The same analytical tools are deployed in the concluding chapter to argue that the period under consideration has come to an end and that Russian culture has entered a new period.


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    Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
    ETD Committee:
    ETD Committee TypeCommittee MemberEmail
    Committee ChairPadunov, Vladimirpadunov@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberGoscilo, Helenagoscilo@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberKrips, Henrykrips@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberCondee, Nancycondee@pitt.edu
    Title: THE POST SOVIET CONDITION: CULTURAL RECONFIGURATIONS OF RUSSIAN IDENTITY
    Status: Unpublished
    Abstract: This dissertation is an examination of the problematic of Russian identity as manifest in the prose literature and cinema during the last two decades of the twentieth century. The reassertion of Russian "national identity" in the post-Soviet Russian Federation masks a crisis, the historical roots of which extend back to the development of Imperial Russia. The analysis employs the tools of Lacanian psychoanalysis to diagnose this crisis and to analyze the almost unsurmountable difficulties involved in the struggle either to recover or to create anew a usable Russian identity for the twenty-first century.The first chapter reviews the theoretical literature on nationalism as well as studies of the problematic conception of Russian nationhood. It also grounds the use of Lacanian theory for cultural analysis and illustrates, through a case study of Ivan Dykhovichnyi's 1992 film Moscow Parade, the utility of a carefully deployed psychoanalytic interpretation of a cultural text from the period under consideration. The following four chapters contain analyses of four identifiable trends in late- and post-Soviet Russian literature and cinema. The heirs to the Village Prose movement, in their engagement with the postmodern environment of this period, reveal in their works an attempt to recover a "lost" identity that is trapped within the self-reflecting structure of an Imaginary Russia. Advocates of the postmodern in Russian culture deconstruct a Symbolic network of cultural texts in which the dissonant discourses of nation and empire generate an identity that seeks substance in the ephemeral. As the sots-art movement spread from graphic arts to literature and film, it illustrated the ultimate logic of a cultural identity based on the endless generation of ideological signifiers. Finally, the young writer Viktor Pelevin and filmmakers such as Karen Shakhnazarov illustrate the lure and the dangers of a culture that seizes upon fantasy as a way out of the cultural conundrum. The same analytical tools are deployed in the concluding chapter to argue that the period under consideration has come to an end and that Russian culture has entered a new period.
    Date: 30 January 2007
    Date Type: Completion
    Defense Date: 19 June 2006
    Approval Date: 30 January 2007
    Submission Date: 09 August 2006
    Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
    Patent pending: No
    Institution: University of Pittsburgh
    Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
    Refereed: Yes
    Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
    URN: etd-08092006-233144
    Uncontrolled Keywords: cultural studies; postmodernism; psychoanalysis and culture; Russian cinema
    Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Slavic Languages and Literatures
    Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 14:58
    Last Modified: 13 Apr 2012 16:21
    Other ID: http://etd.library.pitt.edu/ETD/available/etd-08092006-233144/, etd-08092006-233144

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