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Le thème de la consommation dans la littérature russe contemporaine

image of Canadian-American Slavic Studies

In our paper we propose a typology of the different ways in which the theme of consumption and the consumer society is treated in contemporary Russian literature. Some writers, of whom Oksana Robski is perhaps the best known, view consumption as something entirely positive, as a way for an individual (and especially a woman) to affirm their social identity. Others, such as Sergei Minaev and Viktor Pelevin, directly attack consumerism for the manner in which it has produced a spiritual void in Russian society today. A third group of writers, such as Zakhar Prilepin and Dmitry Bykov, criticise consumerism indirectly, by showing characters who are more or less violently opposed to the new society. Finally, novelists such as Ol’ga Slavnikova, Vladimir Sorokin and Mikhail Elizarov, do not evoke consumerism explicitly, but instead use metaphor to evoke the absence of basic human values in the new market economy. In today’s Russia, consumption has become the focus of a bitter struggle between different views of human nature, of society, and perhaps most importantly, of Russian identity itself. Nowhere is this struggle more clearly portrayed than in the pages of contemporary Russian literature.

Affiliations: 1: CRPM, Université Paris Nanterre


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