Cultivating the Masses: Modern State Practices and Soviet Socialism, 1914-1939 by David L. HoffmannCultivating the Masses: Modern State Practices and Soviet Socialism, 1914-1939 by David L. Hoffmann

Cultivating the Masses: Modern State Practices and Soviet Socialism, 1914-1939

byDavid L. Hoffmann

Paperback | October 2, 2014

Pricing and Purchase Info

$36.68 online 
$41.95 list price save 12%
Earn 183 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


Under Stalin's leadership, the Soviet government carried out a massive number of deportations, incarcerations, and executions. Paradoxically, at the very moment that Soviet authorities were killing thousands of individuals, they were also engaged in an enormous pronatalist campaign to boost the population. Even as the number of repressions grew exponentially, Communist Party leaders enacted sweeping social welfare and public health measures to safeguard people's well-being. Extensive state surveillance of the population went hand in hand with literacy campaigns, political education, and efforts to instill in people an appreciation of high culture.

In Cultivating the Masses, David L. Hoffmann examines the Party leadership's pursuit of these seemingly contradictory policies in order to grasp fully the character of the Stalinist regime, a regime intent on transforming the socioeconomic order and the very nature of its citizens. To analyze Soviet social policies, Hoffmann places them in an international comparative context. He explains Soviet technologies of social intervention as one particular constellation of modern state practices. These practices developed in conjunction with the ambitions of nineteenth-century European reformers to refashion society, and they subsequently prompted welfare programs, public health initiatives, and reproductive regulations in countries around the world.

The mobilizational demands of World War I impelled political leaders to expand even further their efforts at population management, via economic controls, surveillance, propaganda, and state violence. Born at this moment of total war, the Soviet system institutionalized these wartime methods as permanent features of governance. Party leaders, whose dictatorship included no checks on state power, in turn attached interventionist practices to their ideological goal of building socialism.

David L. Hoffmann is Professor of History at The Ohio State University. He is the author of Stalinist Values: The Cultural Norms of Soviet Modernity, 1917–1941 and Peasant Metropolis: Social Identities in Moscow, 1929–1941, both from Cornell. He is also the editor of Russian Modernity: Politics, Knowledge, Practices and Stalinism: The ...
Title:Cultivating the Masses: Modern State Practices and Soviet Socialism, 1914-1939Format:PaperbackDimensions:344 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.81 inPublished:October 2, 2014Publisher:CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESSLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801479746

ISBN - 13:9780801479748

Look for similar items by category:


Table of Contents


1. Social Welfare
Cameralism, Social Science, and the Origins of Welfare
The Social Realm in Russia
Warfare and Welfare
The Soviet Welfare State

2. Public Health
Social Medicine and the State
Social Hygiene
Foreign Influences on Soviet Health Care
Physical Culture and Its Militarization

3. Reproductive Policies
Birthrates and National Power
Contraception, Abortion, and Reproductive Health
Promoting Motherhood and Family
Infant Care and Childraising

4. Surveillance and Propaganda
Monitoring Popular Moods
Wartime Propaganda
Soviet Surveillance
Political Enlightenment
The New Soviet Person

5. State Violence
Origins of Modern State Violence
Internments, Deportations, and Genocide during the First World War
The Russian Civil War and the 1920s
Collectivization and Passportization
The Mass Operations
The National Operations


Archives Consulted

Editorial Reviews

"In keeping with other challenging work in Soviet history, David L. Hoffmann asks us to rethink the purposes and meanings of socialist construction during the Stalin years by placing that history comparatively in its time—whether defined by the violence and mass mobilizations of the Imperial and early Bolshevik periods or by the wider European contexts of governmentality, population, and welfare. We may not go all the way, but anyone interested in how the boundaries of the social were attacked and reimagined during those times can do far worse than begin from this book." - Geoff Eley, Karl Pohrt Distinguished University Professor of Contemporary History, University of Michigan, author of A Crooked Line: From Cultural History to the History of Society