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THE POST SOVIET CONDITION: CULTURAL RECONFIGURATIONS OF RUSSIAN IDENTITY

by McCausland, Gerald Matthew

Abstract (Summary)
This dissertation is an examination of the problematic of Russian identity as manifest in the prose literature and cinema during the last two decades of the twentieth century. The reassertion of Russian national identity in the post-Soviet Russian Federation masks a crisis, the historical roots of which extend back to the development of Imperial Russia. The analysis employs the tools of Lacanian psychoanalysis to diagnose this crisis and to analyze the almost unsurmountable difficulties involved in the struggle either to recover or to create anew a usable Russian identity for the twenty-first century. The first chapter reviews the theoretical literature on nationalism as well as studies of the problematic conception of Russian nationhood. It also grounds the use of Lacanian theory for cultural analysis and illustrates, through a case study of Ivan Dykhovichnyis 1992 film Moscow Parade, the utility of a carefully deployed psychoanalytic interpretation of a cultural text from the period under consideration. The following four chapters contain analyses of four identifiable trends in late- and post-Soviet Russian literature and cinema. The heirs to the Village Prose movement, in their engagement with the postmodern environment of this period, reveal in their works an attempt to recover a lost identity that is trapped within the self-reflecting structure of an Imaginary Russia. Advocates of the postmodern in Russian culture deconstruct a Symbolic network of cultural texts in which the dissonant discourses of nation and empire generate an identity that seeks substance in the ephemeral. As the sots-art movement spread from graphic arts to literature and film, it illustrated the ultimate logic of a cultural identity based on the endless generation of ideological signifiers. Finally, the young writer Viktor Pelevin and filmmakers such as Karen Shakhnazarov illustrate the lure and the dangers of a culture that seizes upon fantasy as a way out of the cultural conundrum. The same analytical tools are deployed in the concluding chapter to argue that the period under consideration has come to an end and that Russian culture has entered a new period.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Henry Krips; Nancy Condee; Vladimir Padunov; Helena Goscilo

School:University of Pittsburgh

School Location:USA - Pennsylvania

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:slavic languages and literatures

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/30/2007

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