Probing the heart and mind of the viewer: scientific studies of film and theatre spectators in the Soviet Union, 1917-1936

Toropova, Anna (2018) Probing the heart and mind of the viewer: scientific studies of film and theatre spectators in the Soviet Union, 1917-1936. Slavic Review, 76 (4). pp. 931-958. ISSN 0037-6779

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Abstract

A vast array of research institutes and cultural organizations began to study the viewer of Soviet cinema and theatre in the years following the October Revolution. These investigations called on the techniques of sociology, psychology, and physiology to make Soviet cultural production more “efficient” and “rational.” Belying the conventional assumption that the cultural revolution of 1928–1932 brought empirical research in aesthetics to an abrupt end, this paper traces the continuation and redefinition of studies of the viewer in the Soviet Union after the “Great Break.” My analysis of the work of the “Scientific Research Sector” at the State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK) between 1933 and 1936 outlines how Stalin-era researchers shifted their gaze from viewers’ tastes and attitudes to questions of perceptual management and effectiveness. Exploring the VGIK researchers’ attempts to determine the “laws” of aesthetic perception and optimize intelligibility, the article brings to light the developments in scientific knowledge underwriting Soviet culture's transition to a form “accessible to the millions.”

Item Type: Article
RIS ID: https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/865625
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities > Department of History
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URLURL Type
doi: 10.1017/slr.2017.271UNSPECIFIED
Depositing User: Zimmerman, Emma
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2017 10:40
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 18:49
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/44287

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