Technical knowledge in late Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia
My PhD project seeks to contribute to the anthropology of everyday life in socialist and post-socialist societies by examin- ing an important but previously neglected social phenomenon under late socialism in the Soviet Union. The research investi- gates practical knowledge in the USSR focusing on do-it-your- self (DIY) practices that were widespread during the Soviet period. In addition to traditional arts and crafts, ordinary Soviet citizens constructed television sets, radios, refrigerators, and a number of smaller appliances used in everyday life. Further- more, they did so in the context of official Marxist-Leninist ideology, which asserted the indivisibility of the worker and the product of his / her labor. I inquire into: (a) the relationship between, on the one hand, practical skills and day-to-day rou- tines and, on the other hand, knowledge and ideology; (b) the ways in which a particular knowledge is mobilized across spa- tial and temporal contexts (e.g., shifts from workplace to domes- tic space, from work hours to free time); and (c) the controver- sial meanings of «materiality» in Soviet and post-Soviet society.