Transformation of the Political Speech under Perestroika: Rise and fall of free agency in the changing idioms, rules and second-order statements of the emerging intellectual debates (1985-1991)
Title: Transformation of the Political Speech under Perestroika: Rise and fall of free agency in the changing idioms, rules and second-order statements of the emerging intellectual debates (1985-1991)
Author: ATNASHEV, Timur
Citation: Florence, European University Institute, 2010
Series/Report no.: EUI PhD theses; Department of History and Civilization
We would like to tell the story of the transformations of the political speech during perestroika by studying the changes in the intellectual vocabulary, professed values and conventional rules of public debates. This transformation is taken in the context of the major political events and socio-economic changes. We mostly considered the theoretical essays of publicists, politicians, thinkers and researchers corresponding to the realm of intellectual history. The study is based on the long series of texts from the corpus of the leading theoretical periodicals and thick journals systematically read through and completed by a number of articles from other journals, round-tables, Politburo notes, and memoir literature forming a large representative sample of the political debates between 1985 and 1991. The sense of this perestroika’s transformation can be described in terms of the rise and fall of human agency as one of the central themes and as the self-representation of the political speech. The emerging political philosophy backing up the reforms was marked by attempts to find an appropriate intellectual language and intellectual foundations for an authoritative, principled and moving public speech. The historiosophical imagery - that of choices made by people in the crucial points of bifurcation on a bulky and branchy tree of the world history - at first provided this sought-for intellectual basis justifying public speech and placing the speaker in the central position of an agent choosing his historical path. We try to trace some of the successes and failures on this crooked path. The original search for a new modality of speech took its full meaning in the recognition of the failure of the official late Soviet ideology to provide practical guidance, theoretical coherence or moral vigour to its authorized beholders. Arguably, this major recognition of failure was made before perestroika by many Soviet officials and intellectuals in their for interieur and addressed by the official propaganda in a number of ways and in particular by the formula routinely condemning the 'gap between words and deeds'.
LC Subject Heading: Soviet Union -- History -- 1985-1991; Soviet Union -- Politics and government -- 1945-1991; Political oratory -- Soviet Union -- History -- 1985-1991
Defense Date: 15/10/2010; Examining Board: Prof. Edward Arfon Rees (EUI) - Supervisor Prof. Steve Smith (EUI) Prof. Oleg Kharkhordin (European University at St. Petersburg) Prof. Alexei Miller (CEU Budapest)
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