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Becoming patriots in Russia: biopolitics, fashion, and nostalgia

  • Ekaterina Kalinina (a1)

The article seeks to explore the common ground between biopolitics, fashion, patriotism and nostalgia. Taking off from the Foucauldian notion of biopolitics as a control apparatus exerted over a population, I provide an insight into the modern construction of the Russian nation, where personal and collective sacrifice, traditional femininity and masculinity, orthodox religion, and the Great Patriotic War become the basis for patriotism. On carefully chosen case studies, I will show how the state directly and indirectly regulates people's lives by producing narratives, which are translated (in some cases designers act as mouthpieces for the state demographic or military politics) into fashionable discourses and, with a core of time, create specific gender norms – women are seen as fertile mothers giving birth to new soldiers, while men are shown as fighters and defenders of their nation. In the constructed discourses, conservative ideals become a ground for the creation of an idea of a nation as one biological body, where brothers and sisters are united together. In these fashionable narratives, people's bodies become a battlefield of domestic politics. Fashion produces a narrative of a healthy nation to ensure the healthy work- and military force.

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Nationalities Papers
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