Educating the New Soviet Man: Propagated Image and Hidden Resistance in Soviet Latvia

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Národní pedagogické muzeum a knihovna J. A. Komenského
Technická univerzita v Liberci, Fakulta přírodovědně-humanitní a pedagogická
The New Soviet Man has been studied primarily from the perspective of its creators, propagators of Communist ideology, while the recipients of the New Soviet Man project and its immediate end users, namely pupils and teachers were largely ignored. Hence, the present research, while capturing and utilizing the experience of Soviet Latvia from 1945 to 1985, sets the research questions as to how the image of the New Soviet Man was presented and introduced at schools and how the concept of the New Soviet Man was perceived and utilised by the “objects” of this state contract – teachers and pupils. The research corpus includes 26 textbooks, 265 school photos and 367 student profile records. For the research purposes, four discursive domains of the New Soviet Man project were identified, namely, socio-biological discourse (gender, body, sexuality and health); social discourse (social class); spatial discourse (nationality) and discourse of individuality (personality, character traits). Given that the dictatorship unavoidably engenders the conflict of interests and resistance, the research corpus allowed to detect some tiny openings for the oppressed to express their views, some elements of pupils’ and teachers’ subtle resistance to the creation of the New Soviet Man, by using horizontal solidarity, avoidance, and slipping into the Grey Zone.
New Soviet Man, propaganda, hidden resistance, Soviet education