Bolshevik Engineering of the “New Man” in the Early Soviet Period: Theoretical Bases, Political and Ideological Priorities, Evolution of Approaches

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Abstract


The article examines theoretical preconditions, as well as the political and ideological priorities of Bolshevik efforts to engineer of the “New Man” in the early Soviet period. The author shows the Marxist origins of the Bolshevik project and their transformation in the works of V.I. Lenin and other leaders of the Communist Party and the Soviet state. It describes the principal mechanisms and tools used to design the New Man, as well as practice of social mobilization and exposure to the political culture of Bolshevism. Emphasis is given to the role of the legacy of World War I in the Bolshevik institutionalization of social engineering, coercion and violence to create new human material . The article also shows disagreements among the Bolshevik leadership during the period from 1917 until the late 1920s regarding the ways of designing the New Man in the context of the proletarian culture, the role of the moral character concept for an ideal communist person as the builder of new society. Analysis is given to the gender aspect of the problem, the Bolshevik vision of the ways to design the New Woman and reshape the old way of life. The article traces the transformation of the Bolshevik leadership’s vision of the New Man and the New Woman throughout the 1920s and 1930s. The author singles out two stages in the Bolshevik engineering of the New Man in the early Soviet period (1917 - mid-1920s, late 1920s - mid-1930s), and describes the project’s evolution.

About the authors

Olga S Porshneva

Ural Federal University named after the first President of Russia B.N. Yeltsin

Email: o.s.porshneva@urfu.ru
19 Mira St., Yekaterinburg, 620002, Russia
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