cs go crosshair
Нови Леви Перспективи
"По-лесно е да си представяш края на света, отколкото края на капитализма." Фредрик Джеймисън
12.05.2014, 19.00 at the fridge & xaspel
Sofia, 8 Madrid. blvd

Cristofer Scarboro is an Associate Professor of History and Director of the Honors Program at King's College (USA).  His first book: "The Late Socialist Good Life in Bulgaria: Meaning and Living in a Permanent Present Tense" was published in 2011 by Lexington Books.  Currently, Dr. Scarboro is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the American Research Center in Sofia.

The collapse of the socialist system in Bulgaria and elsewhere in Eastern Europe in the fall of 1989 was on its most basic level a failure of embourgeoisment—reflecting a deep sense of disappointment in the late socialist good life—the somewhat oxymoronic “middle class socialism.” On important levels, and in the classical accounts of the collapse of communism, this disappointment is understood as a reaction to the shoddy nature, and often absence of, the very goods socialism was supposed to deliver.  Collapse is explained as a failure of consumption in the face of the products of liberal democratic capitalism on display across the iron curtain.  But Eastern European consumer desires were fulfilled at least as often as they were found wanting.   In short, it is too simple and neat—it is too comforting and dangerous—to understand the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe as solely the result of dearth and repression. Bulgarian and East European dissatisfaction with Communism was also, and equally importantly, a reflection of the ennui, struggle, and boredom of living a life ordered by purely consumerist agendas.  This paper investigates the relationship between boredom and consumption in late socialist Bulgaria through the lens of visual art of the era.  Despite the lower standards of living vis-à-vis their Cold War competition, the Eastern European systems were remarkably good at producing stuff by almost any other historical measure.  Bulgarian art of the era reveals the emptiness of that stuff.
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