The Socialist Car: Automobility In The Eastern Bloc by Lewis H. SiegelbaumThe Socialist Car: Automobility In The Eastern Bloc by Lewis H. Siegelbaum

The Socialist Car: Automobility In The Eastern Bloc

EditorLewis H. Siegelbaum

Paperback | September 8, 2011

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Across the Soviet Bloc, from the 1960s until the collapse of communism, the automobile exemplified the tension between the ideological imperatives of political authorities and the aspirations of ordinary citizens. For the latter, the automobile was the ticket to personal freedom and a piece of the imagined consumer paradise of the West. For the authorities, the personal car was a private, mobile space that challenged the most basic assumptions of the collectivity. The "socialist car"—and the car culture that built up around it—was the result of an always unstable compromise between official ideology, available resources, and the desires of an increasingly restless citizenry. In The Socialist Car, eleven scholars from Europe and North America explore in vivid detail the interface between the motorcar and the state socialist countries of Eastern Europe, including the USSR.

In addition to the metal, glass, upholstery, and plastic from which the Ladas, Dacias, Trabants, and other still extant but aging models were fabricated, the socialist car embodied East Europeans' longings and compromises, hopes and disappointments. The socialist car represented both aspirations of overcoming the technological gap between the capitalist first and socialist second worlds and dreams of enhancing personal mobility and status. Certain features of automobility—shortages and privileges, waiting lists and lack of readily available credit, the inadequacy of streets and highways—prevailed across the Soviet Bloc. In this collective history, the authors put aside both ridicule and nostalgia in the interest of trying to understand the socialist car in its own context.

Contributors: Elke Beyer, Swiss Institute of Technology; Valentina Fava, Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies and University of Helsinki; Luminita Gatejel, European University Institute, Florence; Mariusz Jastrzab, Kozminski University; Corinna Kuhr-Korolev, University of Bochum; Brigitte Le Normand, Indiana University Southeast; Esther Meier, University of the Federal Armed Forces, Hamburg; Kurt Möser, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology; György Péteri, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim; Eli Rubin, Western Michigan University; Lewis H. Siegelbaum, Michigan State University

Lewis H. Siegelbaum is Professor of History at Michigan State University. He is the author of several books, including Cars for Comrades: The Life of the Soviet Automobile and the editor of The Socialist Car: Automobility in the Eastern Bloc, both from Cornell.
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Title:The Socialist Car: Automobility In The Eastern BlocFormat:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.27 inPublished:September 8, 2011Publisher:Cornell University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801477387

ISBN - 13:9780801477386

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Reviews

Table of Contents

Introduction
by Lewis H. Siegelbaum

Part One: Socialist Cars and Systems of Production, Distribution, and Consumption

1. The Elusive People's Car: Imagined Automobility and Productive Practices along the "Czechoslovak Road to Socialism" (1945–1968)
by Valentina Fava

2. Cars as Favors in People’s Poland
by Mariusz Jastrząb

3. Alternative Modernity? Everyday Practices of Elite Mobility in Communist Hungary, 1956–1980
by György Péteri

Part Two: Mobility and Socialist Cities

4. Planning for Mobility: Designing City Centers and New Towns in the USSR and the GDR in the 1960s
by Elke Beyer

5. Automobility in Yugoslavia between Urban Planner, Market, and Motorist: The Case of Belgrade, 1945–1972
by Brigitte Le Normand

6. On the Streets of a Truck-Building City: Naberezhnye Chelny in the Brezhnev Era
by Esther Meier

7. Understanding a Car in the Context of a System: Trabants, Marzahn, and East German Socialism
by Eli Rubin

Part Three: Socialist Car Cultures and Automobility

8. The Common Heritage of the Socialist Car Culture
by Luminita Gatejel

9. Autobasteln: Modifying, Maintaining, and Repairing Private Cars in the GDR, 1970–1990
by Kurt Möser

10. “Little Tsars of the Road”: Soviet Truck Drivers and Automobility, 1920s–1980s
by Lewis H. Siegelbaum

11. Women and Cars in Soviet and Russian Society
by Corinna Kuhr-Korolev

Notes
Notes on Contributors
Index

Editorial Reviews

"These fine essays show that a clash of civilizations can play out in the everyday commodities such as cars. Automobility as it manifested under Socialism proves to be an incredibly rich subject, reaching from the design of vast metropolitan areas down to ways the average car owner cared for their vehicle. Luminita Gatejel's essay on Socialist car culture describes the 'ambiguous amalgam of Socialist superiority and the painful awareness of backwardness' that the car caused the Eastern Bloc and USSR to feel."—Mike Pursley, PopMatters (3 October 2011)