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Theories of social engineering intoxicated the political figures of most European states, particularly the intelligentsia of the late tsarist and early Soviet eras. The policies and political practices resulting from these notions form the basis of Hoffmann's analysis. A meticulous examination of the teleological spirit of modern states guides the reader through Hoffmann's five chapter study.
The first two chapters center on social welfare and the promotion of public health during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. In the wake of this development, societies became an experimental field for state-run welfare and control ambitions. Even though Hoffmann does not neglect country-specific differences, he describes an increasing international linkage between social welfare aspirations and military considerations p.
Public Health in the Soviet Union (Claire Shaw)
These efforts were further stimulated by the First World War, in the course of which government interest in a physically healthy society increased, leading to the development of public health programs throughout Europe: in March the British War Cabinet underlined the urgent need of a Ministry of Health which was finally realized in ; one year later France and Turkey adopted similar measures p.
In the following three chapters, Hoffmann further outlines state interventionism and its potentially deadly repercussions. Initially focusing on biological interventionism, Hoffmann once more accentuates the mass mobilization of the First World War as a watershed that resulted in a politically virulent questioning of defense capabilities pp.
In Skrobanskii, a Soviet medical professor, declared that the Russian Empire's prewar population of million had fallen to staggering 90 million due to wars, famine, and territorial losses, thus reaching a threatening dimension for state security with regard to foreign threats from European countries and Germany in particular p. The decline of the Russian population in fact reflected the declining birthrate in all of Europe that had begun in the mid-nineteenth century.
Europe-wide increasing abortion rates and enhanced contraceptive methods fueled not only a pan-European phobia of demographic demise but fit into the framework of real and imagined competition on the international political stage. The intensified international rivalry over political power thus added to the urgent call for the best possible development of human resources, soon a worldwide mantra. The last two chapters on surveillance and state violence are akin to an informative textbook, relying heavily on the research of historians such as Jonathan Daly, George Leggett or Peter Holquist.
However, the book contains a good overview and description of Imperial surveillance practices, both for the target and surveillant, regarding methods of operation, official attitudes towards the targets, and effectiveness of the practices.
This work covers the police system in Imperial Russia, but there are a number of chapters dealing with the lives and working practices of the detectives and agents who provided surveillance and the way that the bureaucracy functioned. This essay examines the freedom of the press in the transitional era between the Imperial and Bolshevik regimes.
Ferenczi looks at the relationship between the press and public opinion as well as issues of civil rights. He does not relate the topic directly to surveillance but this essay can be helpful to establish patterns in the ways that various surveillance practices, such as censorship, developed over in this change-filled period.
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As it relates to the topic of surveillance, the book chronicles the development of a specific type of propaganda practice. Chapter four describes questionnaires and surveys distributed by the party around These reveal the ignorance of the party leaders, but also the prepared social script that the leaders wanted the people to learn. The emphasis of this work is on the use of propaganda and art to retell the past and create transformative memories. The examples she uses demonstrate the Bolshevik ideal of using surveillance to transform society.
This work is also helpful for English-language access to the material, since many of her primary sources are in Russian. Fox argues that the censorship process was the most institutionalized form of party-state involvement in cultural and intellectual affairs during the NEP period. He looks into differences of opinion on censorship within the party and also on cultural involvement, providing a reminder that Bolshevik policy and goals were not always consistent or coherent.
In this book, Read argues that the NEP was not, as is usually claimed, a time of leniency towards culture and education, but that instead Soviet cultural policies were already formed, and so this period was a step in continuity towards Stalinism. This book is relevant to the topic of surveillance because it covers cultural policy during the s.
Heinzen explores the initial Bolshevik attempts to peacefully bridge the gap between the urban Bolshevik leaders and the countryside peasantry through the Commissariat of Agriculture.
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He goes on to investigate why their attempts did not succeed. This is a significant question, since the disparity between the two contributed to the failure of the collectivized system and Soviet agriculture did not recover for decades. Additionally, the source deals with the ideological underpinnings of these attempts, especially the belief that there was enormous productive potential just waiting to be unleashed.
Her three main topics of exploration are: the characteristics of those in rural policing and administrative positions, the reports on local areas that actually reached policymakers in Moscow, and the developing relationship between peasants and policymakers in response to surveillance reports. This book describes the Bolshevik use of former imperial ethnographers to gather information on the people of Russia through censuses and other methods including developing museum exhibits for education. Although it is not the primary focus of the books, it helps to illustrate the interplay between information gathering and information dissemination.
It also describes the difficulties and dangers of the ethnographers as non-Party members working under the Bolsheviks. Additionally, these essays may be useful for engaging the conceptual relationship between surveillance and freedom. He takes a similar stance to Holquist, arguing for continuity and the growth of Soviet policies and political ideology out of ambitions to redesign society and mobilize for labor and war. He emphasizes the use of surveillance to keep track of popular moods, although other historians have rejected the notion that surveillance was about popularity measures.
Chapter 4 focuses specifically on surveillance and propaganda. This source focuses on the New Economic Policy after the civil war and looks at how the Soviet political police, the Cheka and later the OGPU, investigated and tried to understand the peasantry. Hudson tracks the development of Bolshevik opinion from sympathetic to a suspicious views of the peasants.
He also looks at the role that these reports played in the institution and continuation of forced collectivization. This work has been criticized for over-reliance on published sources and assuming a universal peasant worldview. Kenez focuses on the reasons the Bolsheviks considered propaganda to be so important. An implication he draws from this is that there was no distinction made between propaganda and education.
He argues that even if people were not totally convinced, they at least began to take Bolshevik ideology for granted. Describes the development and application of practices of management and use of information, especially in the areas of the press, film, and education. Her primary focus is on policing, not surveillance, emphasizing goal of the police which was to establish order after the civil war.
This source is a collection of translated Soviet documents, providing insight into the relationships among the Soviet leaders, as well as the progression of party control, especially in the arts.