This capacity of a quality to appear across a variety of objects, materials, or substances allows for the homologous alignment of these domains and in turn contributes to the significance we attach to such qualia. The goal was not to promote invidious distinctions but to lift people out of poverty and backwardness to full membership in a modern, socialist society—a goal shared with other developmentalist states during this period see Mazzarella 2003 for socialist India. Hungary's material prosperity relative to other Soviet bloc countries was made possible by what became known as goulash communism, or a combination of central planning with economic reforms and a high tolerance for a second or informal economy. Rihan Yeh, El Colegio de Michoacán Fehérváry, Krizstina. Scholars and journalists have tended to reproduce these binaries in describing everyday life during the socialist decades.
Along the Bolivian Highway: Social Mobility and Political Culture in a New Middle Class. Just look around, she enthused, how these furnishings evoke the dawn fog, the rain-soaked highway, the pebbles on the lakeshore! Organicist Modern and Super-Natural Organicism 6. The New Family House and the New Middle Class Epilogue Conclusion: Heterotopias of the Normal in Private Worlds. They can stand in for differences between people, as in the oft-cited comparison between the East German two-cylinder Trabant and the West German Mercedes, each automobile indexing radically different production regimes and with them radically different political understandings of how resources should be concentrated or distributed chapter 8. Fehervary's approach not only brings a fresh look at the period through its focus on everyday materialities but also offers a welcome correction to the often-simplified understandings of abrupt socialist-capitalist change. Moreover, Marxist materialism conceptualized modernizing development as one of stages and so spoke in terms of the road Soviet states had to travel rather than the leap advocated by the modernist avant-garde. As people moved into panel-construction buildings and lived with furnishing that broke easily or did not age well, the value of these materialities along with their embedded ideologies was subverted.
Only some of the material properties of things available for perception can be taken up for signification at any one time. Only a few of these potential qualia are salient for someone who is appreciating amber as a material for jewelry. ¹ Run-down built environments, industrial pollution, second-rate consumer goods, and uniformity were indexes less of scarcity than of an oppressive and negligent state. Politics in Color and Concrete revisits this history by exploring domestic space in Hungary from the 1950s through the 1990s and reconstructs the multi-textured and politicized aesthetics of daily life through the objects, spaces, and colors that made up this lived environment. The reason for her call is the political strife she attributes to this discursive hole.
This engaging study decenters conventional perspectives on consumer capitalism, home ownership, and citizenship in the new Europe. As the Cold War escalated, overall quality of life for citizens became part of the ongoing rivalry between the two superpowers and their ideologies. After 1989, its residents took on the double burden of trying to incorporate the city into a Hungarian landscape that was itself being incorporated into a European one. This excess in the material qualities of objects, as Webb Keane observes, can act as vehicles of transformative pressure on…systems of meaning and of pragmatic action or provide openings to new possibilities for meaning and action 2006:200. Such honest materialities, they believed, would have the power to modernize and civilize as well as to foster collective sentiments and egalitarian social formations.
Unstable Landscapes of Property, Morality and Status 7. As in planned cities across the region, the built form of Dunaújváros was intended to bring into being an ideal social order and socialist modernity—providing its citizenry with housing, health care, employment, and equitable distribution of wealth. In both cases, Shakow finds a poor fit between political models liberalism and grassroots democracy in the case of clientelism; peasant communities charged with development versus politicized agrarian unions in the case of community and reality. This was particularly true of the Hungarian regime after it crushed the popular uprising of 1956. Nonetheless, such a domestic space is usually constructed as the space from which one goes out into the world, for better or worse Rulwert 1991.
Socialist Generic and the Branding of the State 5. Rather, it was the product of everyday experience of the robust and politically charged material culture that developed over the four decades of the socialist period, much of it centered on the home. Focusing on the qualities inhering in things gives us a way to think about how a variety of seemingly unrelated objects can be united into a coherent style—an aesthetic. A Super-Natural Organicism emerged as nature was enhanced by new technologies into high-quality commodities circulating in a globalizing marketplace chapters 5, 6, and 7. Qualities of things—colors like orange and gray, substances like wood and concrete, shapes like right angles and organic curves—came to provoke affective responses to the sociopolitical and economic ideologies with which they were aligned. But Fehérváry shows this was only due,to an earlier Socialist Realist moment in which the state used quality materials to convey to the working classes, in material idioms familiar from earlier bourgeois styles, their newly elevated status. This is a major reinterpretation of Soviet-style socialism and an innovative model for analyzing consumption.
Shakow simultaneously opens other avenues of thought for grappling with the same issue. The material preferences and practices of the 1990s and 2000s have arisen out of and realigned expectations once developed for a socialist modernity, expectations generated by Socialist Modern forms and their ideological framing. Throughout my years of visiting the mill town, from the 1970s through the 1990s, Hungarians I encountered from Budapest or other historic towns couldn't contain their disapproval: Why would anyone want to go there? This was as true of the middle class that rose to pre-eminent political legitimacy in the 1990s as it was of the proletariat that was concomitantly stigmatized: as gray and weak as the crumbling cement that for many synthesized socialism itself. Frequent invocations of normal and livable material worlds thus reflect aspirations for the enduring but elusive prospects of the modernity and dignity once promised by the socialist state chapter 1. Politics In Color And Concrete Fehrvry Krisztina can be very useful guide, and politics in color and concrete fehrvry krisztina play an important role in your products. But socialist use of modernist forms continued to diverge from modernist orthodoxy in its understanding of the role of representation.
The book shows that modernism can be historicized across Cold War divides, as a global movement; as such it expands the reach of this important category while insisting on the many local specificities that appeared under a modernist banner. Perceptual qualities can form the basis for a unifying aesthetic by linking materialities to one another through common associations. Socialist Realism in the Socialist City 3. Gray evokes not just a landscape dominated by concrete block housing, but a whole array of impressions and sentiments. Fehervary's approach not only brings a fresh look at the period through its focus on everyday materialities but also offers a welcome correction to the often-simplified understandings of abrupt socialist-capitalist change.
The dwelling as a built structure materializes ideal boundaries between inside and outside, the regulation of food and bodily waste Douglas 1970. In Hungary in the 1950s, this Socialist Realist aesthetic regime inhered in buildings of solid, neoclassical design that contained apartments made of quality materials such as ceramic tile and wood parquet. It is an aesthetic quality that powerfully links material environments with political affects. Krisztina Fehervary shows that contemporary standards of living and ideas about normalcy have roots in late socialist consumer culture and are not merely products of postsocialist transitions or neoliberalism. Focusing on the model socialist city of Dunaújváros, Fehérváry shows how these aesthetic regimes were at once connected to explicit state policies and theories about the role of material life in social transformation, and to the everyday experience of these materialities as intensely political. Labor power was central to the theory of historical materialism.
The everyday life of late socialism, he argues, was characterized by attempts to live normally without paying attention to politics one way or another. Material goods reflect, mediate, and constitute social relations, but they also do much more. But what if we reject this a priori alienation and instead begin with the body and embodied subject as a material entity immersed in and engaged with a material context including that of other animate materialities that pushes back, merges with, extends, transforms but is never absent cf. Unstable Landscapes of Property, Morality and Status7. When the communist revolution erupted in Russia, however, the Soviet Communist Party consolidated its powers by claiming the ability to lead society to the final stage of communism with its knowledge of the scientific laws of Marxism-Leninism. Such affective powers of the material, as I see it, arise from habituated engagement with densely valued materialities, materialities that are aligned homologously across different domains.