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“No One Will Forbid Me and Nobody Will Do Anything”: Leisure as a Space of Freedom in the Era of Social Transformations of the 1920s

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Abstract. With all the many modern interpretations and approaches to the study of leisure in the framework of leisure studies, leisure practices change in the context of such current processes as digitalization, robotization, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, bleisure practices, precarization, etc., and is still defined as “freedom to be”. This allows interpreting its history as the history of freedom. The article attempts to consider the history of leisure practices of the Soviet people in the 1920s from the point of view of their compliance with a classical understanding of leisure – as a manifestation of an act of good will, not subject to regulation. The study is written on the basis of archival materials devoted to the agitation and propaganda, educational and cultural work of the Komsomol and party organizations, as well as materials of factory newspapers, journals and fiction. In methodological terms, it became expedient to turn to a new cultural history, which allowed expanding the field of research. The provisions and methods of historical anthropology were also used. As a result, it was concluded that free time in the conditions of the government’s desire to model and regulate was deprived of the right to be called the time of freedom, that is, leisure in its understanding as an opportunity to dispose of time at its own discretion. The consequence of this was a move away in search of the desired, and not imposed leisure, in the field of practices proclaimed by the new government deviant, ideologically alien and unacceptable.

Keywords: history of leisure, history of everyday life, deviant leisure, Soviet society, social control, cultural and mass work, Komsomol, new economic policy.

For Citation: Sidorchuk I.V. “No One Will Forbid Me and Nobody Will Do Anything”: Leisure as a Space of Freedom in the Era of Social Transformations of the 1920s / The New Past. 2021. No. 2. Pp. 112–127. DOI 10.18522/2500-3224-2021-2-112-127.

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0) - Attribution-Non-Commercial License.

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