|Coordinatore||UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON
address: GOWER STREET
|Nazionalità Coordinatore||United Kingdom [UK]|
|Totale costo||209˙592 €|
|EC contributo||209˙592 €|
Specific programme "People" implementing the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities (2007 to 2013)
|Anno di inizio||2011|
|Periodo (anno-mese-giorno)||2011-09-01 - 2013-08-31|
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON
address: GOWER STREET
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'Trust is an essential part of individual lives and the workings of modern society. Not only democracies, but also dictatorships like the Soviet state and authoritarian regimes like postwar European socialist societies needed trust as a crucial resource for social integration and stability of political order. But how much trust did a dictatorship need to ensure the regime’s viability? How did the propaganda state produce the trust necessary to legitimate itself? How did the population experience trust and mistrust in the insecurities of everyday life? Answers to those questions are important to understand problems of democratic transition in post-communist countries and to explain how neo-authoritarian systems are produced today. My project, a cultural history of trust and mistrust in Soviet Russia 1917-1991, is the first historical study to illuminate the role of emotions in organizing states and societies. I hypothesize that the Soviet state preserved social cohesion with the paradoxical principle of forced trust: the bureaucratic system’s ineffectiveness made people feel defenseless, compelling them to mistrust official institutions and join networks of forced trust under local patrons with ultimate protection from the head of state. Taking a constructivist approach, I treat trust and mistrust as socially constructed, politically directed feelings. I.e., trust and mistrust changed over time. The language, symbols, rituals and meanings adhering to these emotions reveal that they influenced history and have their own history. Trust and mistrust were moreover products of political communication during which actors struggled for status and resources in networks of forced trust, established hierarchies and regulated processes of inclusion and exclusion. Wide ranging archival and published sources allow reconstruction of intersections between state production, representation and construction of trust and mistrust and individual experience, memory and social practices.'
A European research initiative explored the concept of trust in the context of emotional bonds between citizens and state. The particular focus was on Soviet Russia over the period ranging from 1917 to 1941.
With the support of EU funding, the FORCEDTRUST project achieved important results. Adopting a multidisciplinary approach, extensive reviews of the theoretical literature on trust and distrust were carried out.
Both published and non-published sources were collected and analysed. Examples of the first instance include letters from laymen to Soviet authorities, newspaper articles, party documents and propaganda literature on trust. Russian central and regional archives were examined for original, non-published sources such as letters from citizens to state and party leaders.
The findings have been published in two leading peer-reviewed journals relative to the field of Russian/Soviet studies. The first is titled 'The regime of forced trust: Making and breaking of emotional bonds between people and state in Soviet Russia', and the second 'Symbols of power in rituals of violence: The personality cult and iconoclasm on the Soviet Empire's periphery'.
Another research outcome is the monograph ''The best friend of the German people': The Stalin cult in East Germany, 1945-1961'. This is due for publication in 2014 by the Moscow-based publisher ROSSPEN in its long-standing series titled 'History of Stalinism'. FORCEDTRUST also completed two chapters for a forthcoming book on the history of trust and distrust with Soviet Russia as a case study.
Project activities included the organisation of an interdisciplinary panel, 'At the boundary of trust and distrust: The shifting of normality and deviance in Soviet Russia'. This took place at the ASSEES Annual Convention in New Orleans in November 2012. A peer-reviewed international conference, 'Trust and distrust in the Eastern Bloc and the Soviet Union, 1956-1991', was also organised and hosted at University College London in July 2013.
FORCEDTRUST succeeded in boosting networking opportunities and establishing a solid foundation for future research collaborations and ongoing knowledge transfer. The knowledge generated has contributed valuable insights regarding trust and distrust with deep roots in early modern European history.
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