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date: 17 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The article examines Soviet wall newspapers (stengazety) as a nonelectronic, low-tech medium to discuss the social, material, and visual implications not of its ideological content, but of this genuine socialist medium as such. As a peer-to-peer network for social organization, it assembled readers/writers, educated their political vision, and forced them to act and react, but not always as the mass-printed press and editorial manuals imagined it. At its worst, the wall newspaper incarnated totalitarian socialism and contributed to a totalitarian communication system, not by forbidding citizens to express themselves but by forcing them to do so, not by denying citizens information access but by insisting that citizens should become informal informants themselves. At its best, its encouragement of underprivileged collectives of participatory readers/writers to reuse, appropriate, and remix any material at hand to co-create the unfinished and unfinishable picture of communism represented socialism in its most open and nonauthoritative form.

Keywords: Soviet Union, communism, wall newspaper, stengazeta, media history, print media, social media, visual culture, material culture

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