Consumer rights, mass media and political communication in the late Soviet Union

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Kirsten Bönker


Consumer policies provided the Soviet system with new sources of legitimacy. The article explores the rising field of Soviet consumer rights in the context of the prospering of Soviet television since the late 50s. It focuses the communication between the regime and people writing letters to Soviet television’s editorial offices in order to defend their rights as material and media consumers. Television brought about the new figure of the Soviet media consumer within political communication. It opened up a “third space” (Homi K. Bhabha) allowing for negotiations on the Soviet unwritten social contract comprising certain strategies of communication, consumption and working regimes. Writing consumers applied a variety of strategies demonstrating the rapid and at the same time sustainable trajectory consumer issues took with the rise of Soviet television. It was not least the television and the shifting boundaries of public and private practices it entailed that massively contributed to the differentiation of Soviet lifestyles and individuality. In English, extended summary in Russian.


Television, Public Sphere, Consumer Issues, Leisure, Political Communication, Authoritative Discourse

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