The Party as a New Utopia: Reshaping communist identity after Stalinism
Title: The Party as a New Utopia: Reshaping communist identity after Stalinism
Author: KOLAR, Pavel
Citation: Social History, 2012, 37, 4, 402–424
This article examines the transformation of communist identity in the eastern bloc after 1956, showing both moments of decline as well as attempts to reforge it. It explores how communist identity was negotiated and reshaped beyond the highest level of party leadership, among ordinary party members. In the aftermath of 1956, the sense of belonging of the communist parties and the working class was seriously challenged by renewed national, ethnic, confessional or regional identities. The reappearance of these particular identities in 1956 disturbed the utopian narrative of a communist future. Yet, on the other hand, the belief in communist rule did not diminish. As this article argues, an ersatz-utopia emerged, capable of integrating the particular identities into a larger sense of purpose that centred on the party as a national and local actor. The study describes this change as a shift from a programmatic to a processual form of utopia, understanding the latter as based on spatially decentred and temporally fragmented narratives.
Type of Access: openAccess
Files in this item
There are no files associated with this item.