Invisible Society of the Soviet Era

Original title: Nematoma sovietmečio visuomenė

Publishing date: 2015

Publisher: Naujasis židinys-Aidai

Language: Lithuanian

Pages: 387



In spite of official ideological plans and high ambitions of (post)totalitarian state to encompass the entire human lifeworld, communist states were not entirely deprived of informal social networking that managed to slip out of the (post)totalitarian control. On the one hand, such networks included non-conformist youth subcultures, samizdat publishers, non-systemic circles of intelligentsia, etc. On the other hand, the “invisible” societal fabric also contained informal networks of nomenclature and blat that were feeding upon the communist system itself, – distorted totalitarian ideals and socialist economy represented the core of the social reality of the communist states. The regime’s differentiated approach to informal networks (certain networks were consistently persecuted, others flourished without major systemic state interference) indicates differences in their nature. However, this distinction is poorly understood and remains underconceptualized in academic discourse. Some scholars treat each manifestation of the invisible society as the society’s resistance against the regime in one form or another, or as an indication of the weakness of the regime itself. Others consider them to be a certain mutation of the system which strengthened rather than weakened it, and believe that there was nothing un-Soviet during the Soviet time. The main thesis of this book challenges the arguments of both camps. The aim of this book is to identify and conceptualize a distinction between the systemic and non-systemic “invisible societies” in the late Soviet period, i. е., between the informal social networks that were integral part of the system, and the ones that opposed the system and managed to survive despite its violence. [From the publication]


Cite as: Ramonaitė, A. (red.) (2015) Nematoma sovietmečio visuomenė. Vilnius: Naujasis židinys-Aidai.

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