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Article

За фасадом советской подиумной моды: капитал и позиция в поле

Экономическая социология. 2020. Т. 21. № 3. С. 56-83.

The paper presents an approach to describe and analyze the accumulation of specific capital in a Soviet design organization during the late Soviet period. The study covers the period from 1968 to 1982. The system of fashion production under the Late Socialism is less explored compared with the Stalin and Thaw periods. The functioning of regional Clothing Design Houses which constituted a specific feature of the Soviet system of fashion production during this period is underexplored as well. Finally, as far as we know this study is the first attempt to apply the Bourdieu’s theory of the field of production to the Soviet fashion production. Typically, researchers do not use sociological theories of fashion production for the analysis of Soviet fashion. The study implies the categories of specific capital, hierarchy, and dynamic of the field of production. The system of fashion production of the Late Soviet period is considered as a particular case of fashion production in a non-capitalist society. There are two components of the study. The first one reconstructs the hierarchy of the Soviet system of fashion production. The second one describes professional strategies to accumulate specific capital and to occupy a position in the field of production. The study focuses on two cases of development and presentation of clothes collections by Perm Clothing Design House during All-Union and cluster meetings of designers in 1968 – 1969 and 1979 – 1982. The paper relies on published research on Soviet fashion history, archive documents, and in-depth interviews with ex-employees of Perm Clothing Design House. The results discuss the applicability of the term of specific capital to the explanation of hierarchy construction processes in the Late Soviet field of production of fashion. The paper contributes to the earlier conclusions about the ambivalent Soviet fashion policy. Also, it introduces the definition of specific capital as official representatives’ appreciation of the balance between the officially approved fashion trend of a season and creative search achieved by designers of a certain Clothing Design House. It suggests that there was a weird combination of socialist and pseudo-market practices penetrating the Soviet fashion field of restricted production.