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Au-delà des étoiles. Stars Wars et l’histoire culturelle du socialisme tardif en Bulgarie

Abstract : Beyond stars: Star Wars and the cultural history of late socialism in Bulgaria - The present article examines the social lives of Star Wars in Bulgaria as a window onto the cultural history of late socialism. Through an exploration of the appropriations of this cult film – set against the repertoire policies of cultural officials – the purpose is to highlight some facets of daily life during socialism, as well as the spatial and temporal imaginings that underpin them. Based on archival research as well as on interviews, the investigation breaks with an understanding of the screening of Western movies as practices of resistance or as evidences of a longing for a Western alternative. The study also departs from the assumption that the circulation of (shortage) Western goods would have contributed to the demise of socialism. By contrast the examination of Star Wars’ cultural biography suggests the existence of patterns of global cultural circulation – beyond the East-West cleavage – that drew upon a shared European heritage. The selection of this case study also allows us to capture a specific moment in the history of socialism, characterized with a loss of belief in the socialist project and a correlative investment in the “mysteries” of science (fiction). Finally, setting light on the increasingly socially and generationally stratified experiences of socialism, the article argues that, far from undermining the social hierarchies of late socialism, the use of Western cultural goods and merchandising products as social markers did paradoxically comfort the prevailing moral economy.
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Submitted on : Sunday, October 24, 2021 - 1:39:42 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, March 15, 2022 - 10:46:01 AM

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Nadège Ragaru. Au-delà des étoiles. Stars Wars et l’histoire culturelle du socialisme tardif en Bulgarie. Cahiers du Monde russe, Editions de l'EHESS, 2014, 54 (1-2), pp.353 - 382. ⟨10.4000/monderusse.7947⟩. ⟨hal-03399404⟩

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