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Regular version of the site

Article

Soviet Debris: Failure and the Poetics of Unfinished Construction in Northern Siberia

Social Research. 2016. Vol. 83. No. 3. P. 689-721.

This article approaches failure through the lens of the ruination, residue, and debris that accumulated during the Soviet construction in northern Siberia. My focus is on the ambivalence of ruination and incomplete construction. I argue that debris as material and documentary product of the Soviet project is not merely an important component of the Soviet developmental machine but also a device for naming otherness—in particular, the imperial debris, the “enemies of the people,” and the resilience of “tradition.”