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Stepping over the threshold of time: The Brezhnev era and the rise of the heritage temporality (1964-1982)



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Weppel, Simon 


The present thesis investigates the concept of temporality and its applicability within the scope of heritage studies. It argues that cultural notions of time, or temporalities, are of considerable consequence for the emergence of heritage, understood as a discursive formation, in any given society. Taking as its case study the example of the Brezhnev-era Soviet Union, the study examines the relationship between changing notions of time and the rise of a sensibility for heritage preservation in the Soviet 1960s to 1980s. The thesis offers a historical discourse analysis based on visitor guidebooks and brochures related to three museums dedicated to Vladimir Lenin, settings its findings in contrast with the wider literature on the Brezhnev period. Noting that a rise of concern for heritage preservation matters in the Soviet Union coincided with a broader turn towards discourses of tradition and history, the dissertation explores the common roots of a number of features of late Soviet culture. The work builds on the theoretical tools developed by Reinhart Koselleck and Francois Hartog to offer a perspective on the cultural phenomenon of heritage through the prism of temporality. In doing so, it formulates the notions of the ‘heritage temporality’ - a cultural relationship to time it argues is a precondition for the emergence of heritage - and of the ‘chronotope’, a methodological tool facilitating analysis of a given heritage site’s temporal and spatial aspects.





Janik, Liliana


Brezhnev, chronotope, heritage, Russia


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge
Arts and Humanities Research Council (2112877)
AHRC (2112877)
Arts and Humanities Research Council; Cambridge Trust (Vice Chancellor's Award); Girton College, Cambridge