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The Aleksanteri Institute

Unioninkatu 33 (P.O. Box 42)
00014 University of Helsinki

Past Aleksanteri Conferences

Mayya Shmidt (National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia) and Tamara Kusimova (National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia)

Commercialization of Nostalgia: How do Soviet Goods conquer Post-Soviet Markets?

The presented paper focuses on the phenomena of «commercialization of nostalgia» which is defined as the use of Soviet attributes, symbols and artefacts in promotion and branding of contemporary market goods. What can be evident for any observer and what was highlighted by Russian scholars is that Soviet stylistics gain popularity within contemporary gastronomy. The main objective of this contribution is to answer, why do consumers tend to return to the Soviet heritage and how does “nostalgia proneness” emerges. This paper departs from the assumption that process of consumption is socially constructed and could not be reduced to individual acts of purchase, since individual choice depends on institutional context. Gastronomy transfers basic cultural attitudes, and it becomes commemorable within post-soviet context. Related to the general purpose, the main tasks to be accomplished could be confined to: (i)reestablish the process of construction of the «Soviet». How do consumers identify a particular product as a “soviet”; (ii) determine the motives of nostalgic consumption for contrary age groups; (iii)determine the channels of nostalgia transmission among the younger generation. Qualitative strategy of conducting a sociological research was selected. Sample was represented by the target group of consumers of “sovietized products” within contrast age groups: seniors, who spent the most of life under the Soviet rule (aged 55 or more) and young adults who’ve never lived in the Soviet era (aged 18-25). All in all, 25 interviews were conducted and analyzed.