9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN07 Sociology of Culture

2009-09-03 13:30:00 2009-09-03 15:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 13:30 - 15:00 Culltural Boundaries, Control and Change Building II, C4.08

The medical control in visual sources of Soviet Russia in 1930s

The reforms of the 1930s in the Soviet historiography are referred to as an epoch of ?cultural revolution?, which can be considered in terms of modernization, with its characteristic features of Grand narrative of The Science regulating all spheres of social life, aspiration to explain all phenomena of human life within the framework of scientific truth. This process was accompanied by the rise of manufacturing of visual products for a wide audience (posters, propaganda leaflets, films). From then Soviet power developed so called medical gaze, in terms of M. Foucault. Thus, the state began to supervise the population through controlling and forming the body, sexuality with the help of medicine. The medical control began to penetrate into daily life, accompanying a person from birth to death. The health care of a nation becomes the main motive in visual sources, such as posters and leaflets, which were manuals for daily use, appealing to cleanliness and hygiene as a basics for health (ex: poster by ?.?. Bulanov ?All for the guys both sex from birthday?, 1929, poster of the unknown artist ?Have you taken care of breasts??, 1930, poster by ?.F. Bri-Brain ?The Working Woman! Struggle for a clean dining hall, for healthy food?, 1931). Cleanliness and health were depicted by the white dressing gowns, scarves, children's dress, the night shirt cloth, providing a connotation with the presence of medicine in any person?s life. Medical posters and anthropometrical photos are saturated with binary oppositions clean / dirty, norm / pathology, while the medically identified cleanliness is understood as a norm and social hygiene becomes a means of policy and control. The paper is focused on the studies of several photos from archives and early Soviet medical journals, as well as few Soviet posters devoted to ideals of hygiene and means of scientific medical scrutinizing of body as immanent to strategies of governmentality in the chosen historic period.