Social engineering of Soviet leisure time: on the basis of the oral history


  • Oksana Hodovanska The Ethnology Institute of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

Parole chiave:

Soviet leisure time, village teachers, oral history narrative, Western Ukraine, Soviet Ukraine


Despite a considerable interest in the Ukrainian humanities to the Soviet period and to the study of everyday life in that epoch, there does not exist any work so far, in which the issue of leisure time of Soviet people is researched.

At the turn of the 1950-1960-ies of the ХXth century, the notion of leisure time or free time obtains an official recognition. The idea of Soviet citizens as having their own time resource, a little remainder of time which is not spent on socially useful work, or on everyday activities or transport, gets an official recognition. The idea of free time is demonstrated through certain official policies, supported by official documents. In the given article, the author will point out to a system of actions of Soviet social engineering involving the leisure time of Soviet people. 

On the basis of oral historical narratives of former school teachers, the author will analyze the leisure time of teachers in the second part of the ХХ-th century in the villages of Halychyna. We shall mostly deal with the so-called “serious” spending of leisure time such as reading books, Soviet newspapers, visiting village clubs, and so on. At the same time, leisure-time of village teachers, which was, as contrasted to that of city teachers, much more “modest” in its choice, less active and of a much shorter duration, will take form.

On the whole, the sphere of leisure time in the Soviet era was transformed into an object of cultural policies and a matter of control on the part of the state and the party authority organs.

Riferimenti bibliografici

Dumazedier J. 1967, Toward a society of leisure, New York: Free Press.

Halaychyk T., Luts’kyj O., Mykytiv B., Slyvka B. (eds.) 1995, The cultural life in Ukraine: Western lands. 1939-1953. Volume 1: documents and materials, Kyiv: Institute of Ukrainian Studies named after I.Krypiakevych of National Academy of Ukraine - Naukova dumka.

Hrinchenko H. 2012, The oral history of compulsion to labor: the method, contexts and texts, Kharkiv: NTMT.

Koliastruk O. 2010, The intelligentsia of UkrSSR in the 1920-ies: everyday life, Kharkiv: The rarities of Ukraine.

Liubavs’kyj R. 2016, The everyday life of workers in Kharkiv in the 1920-ies – the early 1930-ies, Kharkiv: The rarities of Ukraine.

Lusini V., Meloni P., Zanotelli F. 2019, Introduzione. Gli usi sociali del tempo libero: economie della condivisione nella crisi, in «Archivio antropologico mediterraneo», 21(1): 1-8.

Skubij I. 2017, The trade in Kharkiv during the NEP (1921-1929): economics and everyday life. Kharkiv: The rarities of Ukraine.

Snyder T. 2018, Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin, Kyiv: Laurus.

Stiazhkina O. 2017, The owners of time: why does the Soviet not end? - Sovietism: An attempt to diagnose through the prism of everyday life: a collection of materials of the II All-Ukrainian scientific and methodological seminar, 7-8 of April, town of Vinnytsia, (ed.) O.A. Koliastruk. – Vinnytsia: 63-90.

Stiazhkina O. 2010, Gender dimensions of Soviet everyday life in the 1960-1980-ies, «Regional ethnography», 3: 214 – 223.

Tykhyj O. 1982, Reflections. A collection of articles, reflections and memories, Baltimore – Toronto: Ukrainian publishing house the Smoloskyp.

Urry J. 2002, Social identity, leisure and the countryside, Consuming Places, London and New York: Taylor & Francis e-Library.






Come citare

Hodovanska, O. (2020). Social engineering of Soviet leisure time: on the basis of the oral history. EtnoAntropologia, 8(1), 123–134. Recuperato da