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Caviar with Champagne


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Also available in paperback, 9781859736388 GBP17.99 (October, 2003)

About the Author

Jukka Gronow is at the Department of Sociology, Uppsala University.


'Jukka Gronow describes the development in the hungry 1930s of a Soviet rhetoric of cultured living that privileged luxury commodities like champagne, caviar and perfume ... The thorough research in the archives it is based on makes Caviar with Champagne useful to scholars, and general readers will enjoy its vivid illustrations.' London Review of Books 'Jukka Gronow has applied his mastery of the every-day economy and taste cultures to the bewildering world of Stalinist consumerism. In an engaging style, he expertly explains how a luxury goods market came about in a socialist state in the midst of widespread poverty in the 1930s. Both Russians and foreign visitors familiar with Sovetskoe Shampanskoe and the old Soviet department stores and food and fashion shops will enjoy a thrill of discovery about their origins.' Richard Stites, Professor of History, Georgetown University 'An excellent and innovative contribution to the study of consumer culture. By exploring in detail the significance of the emergence of Soviet champagne in the mid 1930s as a way into the broader development of a differentiated Soviet consumer culture - that extends from creating tastes for chocolates, German sausage, caviar, bicycles, etc, to developing new department stores, cafes and canteens - Gronow provides us with new insights into the political economy, stratification, and cultural consciousness of new consumers in the Soviet Union. A richly rewarding exploration of Soviet consumption based upon much hitherto untapped archive material.' David Frisby, Professor of Sociology, University of Glasgow 'Discovering the unknown spaces between politics and consumption in the Stalinist era, Gronow provides a palpable understanding of a civilization that now seems as distant as that of the Aztecs. This brilliant study reveals Soviet champagne as a clue to the 20th century puzzle, exposing its complicity with five-year plans and mass murders. Outstanding in its sensitivity and rejection of stereotypes, this is the best book about Stalin's cultural politics since Timashev's Great Retreat of 1946.' Professor Alexander Etkind, European University at St. Petersburg 'A must-read for anyone interested in Soviet material culture. ...An engaging study, filled with intriguing facts... Gronow's work deserves a place in graduate courses in Soviet history, everyday life, and consumption, as well as a wide readership among scholars in the field.' Julie Hessler, Slavic Review

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