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Genesis: Historical research
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Publications of Tribunskikh Natal'ya Ivanovna
History magazine - researches, 2018-4
Tribunskikh N.I. - The Image of Physical Suffering in the Regional Periodical Press of the USSR in the mid-1950s: the Political and Ideological Context pp. 110-122

DOI:
10.7256/2454-0609.2018.4.25778

Abstract: The article is focused on the topic of the representation of human corporeality in Soviet periodical editions. The relevance of this study is founded on the fact that corporality and its key feature as a social construct are exposed to the external influences of socio-political institutions and, in turn, they themselves influence the formation of individual and collective values. On the example of the sources from the central Voronezh newspaper "Molodoy Kommunar", the author analyses the most common images of physical suffering (illness, mutilation, death) and their political and ideological content as a means of influencing the public consciousness. The central place in this study is occupied by M. Foucault's postmodernist concept of power which regards the human body as an object of social control, placed in special disciplinary spaces and subject to constant external influence, including through mass media. The presented work is of an interdisciplinary nature, as it integrates the methods of discourse analysis, cognitive history, and historical visualistics. The scientific novelty of this article lies in its recourse to conduct an analysis of the history of corporality through an examination of the provincial periodical press as its main source. The author introduces into scientific cirrculation previously unused text and illustrated material. The author comes to the conclusion that the representation of suffering as a physical feature was of an ideological nature. Within the framework of the becoming of Soviet indoctrination, the formation of a lasting stereotype of the socialist system's superiority over the capitalist one played an important role. This is why the author pays special attention to the sources' contrasting images of the physical perfection of Soviet citizens with the bodily defects of the other peoples which were affected by the policy of the countries from the imperialist camp. The author also demonstrates how the positive image of Soviet medicine was used for the implementation of the strategy of state control over the corporality of citizens.
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