The Vernaculars of Communism: Language, Ideology and Power in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe

Lara Ryazanova-Clarke (Editor), Petre Petrov (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Abstract / Description of output

The political revolutions which established state socialism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe were accompanied by revolutions in the word, as the communist project implied not only remaking the world but also renaming it. As new institutions, social roles, rituals and behaviours emerged, so did language practices that designated, articulated and performed these phenomena. This book examines the use of communist language in the Stalinist and post-Stalinist periods. It goes beyond characterising this linguistic variety as crude "newspeak", showing how official language was much more complex – the medium through which important political-ideological messages were elaborated, transmitted and also contested, revealing contradictions, discursive cleavages and performative variations. The book examines the subject comparatively across a range of East European countries besides the Soviet Union, and draws on perspectives from a range of scholarly disciplines – sociolinguistics, anthropology, literary and cultural studies, historiography, and translation studies.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAbingdon
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages244
ISBN (Electronic)9781315762173
ISBN (Print)9781138792357, 9780815367369
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2014

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in the History of Russia and Eastern Europe

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Russian language
  • Socialism
  • Communism
  • sociolinguistics
  • cultural history


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