Additionally, as we focus mainly on material of the Soviet side, we are not always able to reconstruct the level of perception by the target groups in the socialist camp or of the efforts of the cultural diplomacy in other countries.
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We hope for a lively exchange of views and positions with colleagues who work in this research field. Since the mid-twentieth century, when Frederick Barghoorn released his pioneering book on Soviet propaganda abroad, the issue of cultural diplomacy has become a dynamic field of research. The scholarly approach of cultural diplomacy studies embraces the analysis of culture, diplomacy, history of transatlantic and socialist integration, intra- and inter-bloc communication, transnationalism, cultural confrontation and dialogue of the two seemingly incompatible and hostile worlds.
However, until the last decade, these studies were mainly focused on the USA and its absolute domination in the sphere of international relations, diplomatic history and culture of the Cold War.
Motocross Mayhem: Racing as Transnational Phenomenon in Socialist Czechoslovakia
Which questions in the field of Socialist Cultural Diplomacy are still understudied and in which ways might your upcoming conference contribute to fill these gaps? In order to discuss the multidimensionality of cultural diplomacy and emphasize its role as a means of transnational communication in terms of oscillating political and ideological confrontations, the conference will approach the issue from several angles:.
Oxana Nagornaja , PhD. April Shafarevich starts out from the premise that an ideology can best be comprehended by following the thought processes of its most fervent believers, who in turn had been inspired by earlier ideological traditions.
The Socialist Phenomenon
A socialist then shall be primarily known by the texts that inspired them, rather than their methods or achievements important though these are. Secondly, socialism as an ideology is not only or even mainly a programme of economic levelling every manifestation has its nomenklatura. It is an assault on every potential redoubt of the private sphere.
Socialist scriptures are militantly anti-religious; they demand the liquidation of the family, the raising of children separate from their parents and the sharing of partners.
The Socialist Myth: Igor Shafarevich and Modern Nihilism – Catholic World Report
All are distinguished by the abolition of private property and the treatment of human societies as mechanisms as manifested, for example, in megalomaniacal construction projects. Certainly, all these societies were prison states. The Conquistadors discovered that the Inca were so devoid of initiative they required barely any conquest at all.
Rather than localising it historically or geographically, Shafarevich conceives socialism as immanent in human nature. Yet, while having a common core of basic characteristics, socialism also has its local variants, such as the heretical Christian sects such as the Cathars.
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The anti-reliogisity intrinsic to socialism goes beyond a mere asseveration of atheism. It is rather a deterministic assumption that people are unconditionally shackled by the laws of the material world and fated to be its prisoners Chernyshevsky was typical of this viewpoint, in turn savagely parodied by Dostoevsky in his Notes from Underground.
The early mystical sects, strongly influenced by Christianity but hostile to the institutional church, based their lifestyle on sharing both property and women.
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These sects, starting with the Gnostics, were militant dualists as between material and spiritual. This led them to regard all expressions of distinct individuality as evil and to cherish communitarian principles. They exhorted violence against all earthly institutions, be they church, state or society.
His insistence on the universality of socialism is supported by the modern literature which propagates revolutionary ideas as international. In The Communist Manifesto , one of the first measures of the new socialist system to be proposed is the introduction of compulsory labour, ostensibly as a staging post on the road to freedom. Marx foresaw 15 or even 50 years of civil war for the proletariat.
By concentrating on the material dimension, socialism flattens life into a mechanistic activity. In attempting to solve social problems, it resorts to external means and to the use of force, as if dealing with a machine. When speaking of the ideal of equality, ideologues seem to be speaking of making people interchangeable, paving the way to its demand for tremendous human sacrifice. Another invariable trait of socialist societies is hostility towards culture and tradition, the driving force being fear of life and creativity.