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Remains of SocialismMemory and the Futures of the Past in Postsocialist Hungary$
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Maya Nadkarni

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501750175

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501750175.001.0001

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Nostalgia and the Remains of Everyday Life

Nostalgia and the Remains of Everyday Life

(p.78) 3 Nostalgia and the Remains of Everyday Life
Remains of Socialism

Maya Nadkarni

Cornell University Press

This chapter argues that the various attempts to distance the past became the condition of Hungary for its return in the form of nostalgia for socialist mass and popular culture. It discusses the remains of socialism from anachronistic monuments and devalued historical narratives to the detritus of an everyday life now on the brink of vanishing, such as candy bars and soda pop. Despite appearances, this nostalgia did not represent a wistful desire to return to the previous era nor simply to the gleeful impulse to laugh at state socialist kitsch found years earlier. The chapter explains the detachment of fond communal memories of certain objects from the political system that produced them. It points out the ironic invocation of the international discourse of cultural heritage that legitimate the trash of the previous era and enabled Hungarians to redefine themselves as both savvy capitalist consumers and cultured democratic citizens.

Keywords:   socialist mass culture, political system, socialism, cultural heritage, capitalist consumers, democratic citizens, socialist popular culture

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