Research Theme 5 studies the cultural industries (background, values, sponsors, marginal figures, etc.) and the status of creators, intermediaries and audiences by following individual and collective careers, political discourse, explicit and implicit norms, mechanisms of censorship and construction of groups of public opinion. Its analysis of form and format adopts a perspective enriched by contributions from intermedial approaches (music and film, text and image in illustration, etc.). The aim is to situate cultural production and practices in historical and international perspective.

The theme covers the Imperial, Soviet and post-Soviet periods and the continuities and disruptions between them. The issue of transfers (cultural, technical, format, professional skills) exists both nationally (town/countryside), and between Soviet republics, Eastern Bloc countries and Western and Eastern countries. The research is intended to rethink the categories long used to approach the analysis of a Soviet art under constraint, but which have been questioned since the early 2000s: official versus unofficial or independent art, avant-garde versus Socialist Realism, West versus East, individual versus collective, etc. This research theme uses methods, sources and concepts from various disciplines: social, economic and political history, history of art, science and technology, anthropology, sociology, aesthetics, politics. It reveals, for example, an institutional history of the arts placed within its political context.

This theme gains from the contribution of the collective seminar “Visual cultures: cross-history of the Soviet gaze” held at the EHESS since 2015, a new forum for discuss research addressing the arts and visual industries during the Soviet period. It continues a set of research on Soviet cinema (Valérie Pozner, Irina Tcherneva, Maria Golik, Vanessa Voisin) and Soviet iconography (Gabor Rittersporn). In the field of publishing, recent research has extended research into Soviet educational literature and its use of images (Cécile Pichon-Bonin) and changes in post-Soviet publishing (Bella Ostromooukhova). In music, the history of recording and records proposed by Nathalie Moine, based on collecting new archival sources, offers a fine prospect for the cultural history of the Soviet period. For the post-Soviet period, Yauheni Kryzhanouski’s research into rock raises once more the question of censorship. The transnational dimension of artistic exchange is reflected in all this work, and is the focus of research by Juliette Milbach and Ioulia Podoroga. The addition of this new research theme “Creation, dissemination and reception of cultural goods in the Imperial, Soviet and post-Soviet worlds” at CERCEC provides a structure to a particularly innovative set of research on these matters.