Under the Influence (Paperback)
Working-Class Drinking, Temperance, and Cultural Revolution in Russia, 1895-1932 (Pitt Series in Russian and East European Studies)
University of Pittsburgh Press, 9780822961598, 209pp.
Publication Date: March 28, 2006
Other Editions of This Title:
Under the Influence presents the first investigation of the social, cultural, and political factors that affected drinking and temperance among Russian and Soviet industrial workers from 1895 to 1932. Kate Transchel examines the many meanings of working-class drinking and temperance in a variety of settings, from Moscow to remote provinces, and illuminates the cultural conflicts and class dynamics that were deeply rooted in drinking rituals and the failure of attempted reforms by the Tsarist and Soviet authorities.
As the title suggests, workers were often under the influence of alcohol, but they were also under political influences that defined what it meant to be a Soviet worker. Perhaps more importantly, they were under deeper, prerevolutionary cultural influences that continued to shape lower-class identities after 1917. The more the Soviet state tried to control working-class drinking, the more workers resisted. Radical legislation, massive propaganda, and even coercion were not sufficient to motivate workers to abandon traditional forms of fraternization.
Under the Influence highlights working-class culture and underscores the limitations the Bolsheviks faced in attempting to create a cultural revolution to complete their social and political revolution.
About the Author
Praise For Under the Influence: Working-Class Drinking, Temperance, and Cultural Revolution in Russia, 1895-1932 (Pitt Series in Russian and East European Studies)…
”Written with grace and authority, ‘Under the Influence’ is a model monograph . . . the most thorough study of its kind. But more than this, Transchel’s study places alcohol consumption within the working-class culture of the time, in a way that helps us understand why the abolitionist movements of the time were repeatedly defeated.”
”A compelling analysis of a much-cited yet superficially investigated aspect of Russian and Soviet life. Through a careful investigation of an impressive array of archival and primary resources, Transchel’s work offers inportant insights into the relationship between the newly industrialized working classes and the Russian state through the negotiaation over the use and abuse of alcohol.”
“An insightful, well-written, and thoroughly researched account of how tenacious and enduring traditional practices thwarted the Soviet state’s attempts to transform everyday life. It deserves a wide readership.”
—Annals of the History of Eastern Europe
“A solid examination of the persistence of drinking culture despite revolutionaries’ attempts to eliminate it, using a wide range of all available sources. It should be read not only by those who study Russia, but also by those who study working class culture in other areas of the world. Concisely and clearly written, the study would be a useful supplementary text in upper-level undergraduate Russian history classes.”
—The NEP Era
“Using drinking as a lens through which to assess cultural revolution in Russia, Transchel persuasively reveals how practices steeped in everyday life limited state-sponsored efforts to remake society. In elegantly lean prose, she demonstrates how workers effectively resisted Bolshevik efforts to establish cultural hegemony and what this ultimately meant for the Soviet project.”
--Donald J. Raleigh, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill