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The Things of LifeMateriality in Late Soviet Russia$
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Alexey Golubev

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501752889

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501752889.001.0001

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When Spaces of Transit Fail Their Designers

When Spaces of Transit Fail Their Designers

Social Antagonisms of Soviet Stairwells and Streets

(p.90) Chapter 4 When Spaces of Transit Fail Their Designers
The Things of Life

Alexey Golubev

Cornell University Press

This chapter looks at the mass housing program launched by the Soviet leadership in the late 1950s from the perspective of urban planning and management. It looks into the transit spaces of new socialist neighborhoods, focusing on the stairwells of Soviet apartment blocks. Designed as utilitarian spaces for the fast passage of people from home to work to leisure activities, they revealed an ability to accumulate people and connect them in various ways, which Soviet authorities and intellectuals often interpreted as threatening to the public good. The Soviet stairwell established different affective regimes of Soviet people's interactions with urban space and provoked some of the hidden social conflicts of late socialism that became reflected in socially dominant structures of the Soviet self. The communities discussed in the chapter are predominantly male. The material and social conditions of late socialism provoked different regimes and forms of masculinity, which is another important topic of this book.

Keywords:   mass housing program, Soviet leadership, Russian urban planning, socialist neighborhoods, Soviet apartment blocks, utilitarian spaces, urban space, social conflicts, late socialism

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