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 (Unpublished)

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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
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
McCausland, Gerald
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairPadunov, Vladimirpadunov@pitt.eduPADUNOV
Committee MemberGoscilo, Helenagoscilo@pitt.eduGOSCILO
Committee MemberKrips, Henrykrips@pitt.eduKRIPS
Committee MemberCondee, Nancycondee@pitt.eduCONDEE
Date: 30 January 2007
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 19 June 2006
Approval Date: 30 January 2007
Submission Date: 9 August 2006
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: cultural studies; postmodernism; psychoanalysis and culture; Russian cinema
Other ID:, etd-08092006-233144
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:58
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:48


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