The Soviet Song Statement of the 1960–1970s in the Perspective of the Strong Program in Cultural Sociology
The article considers the potential of a strong program of cultural sociology in the research of the Soviet song policy in the 1960s and 70s. Mass musical genres of the cultural industry era are usually considered in the historicist optics of emancipation and diversification. With such optics, institutional contexts serve only as a background against which the evolution of the post-folklore unfolds. The disadvantage of this approach is the uncritical mixing of the tools of classicist criticism with modern tools of social theory. The Soviet song Estrada formed its own type of song statements by simultaneously rebuilding the institutions of social performance, musical political economy, and aesthesis that served these institutions. Non-reductionist optics, which, from Alexander’s point of view lie at the intersection of structuralist and hermeneutical tools, have a pronounced specificity when applied to mass musical genres. The system of intonation combined with the poetic word brought to a state of pure mechanical self-reproduction, according to Adorno, somehow pushes us to describe and decipher the system of meanings of such a product. In order that the search for thickness in the description of musical phenomena does not lead to new reductions, it is necessary to abandon what, at first glance, connects sound with culture, and replace the concepts of ‘song’ and ‘music’ with ‘song statement’ and ‘musical statement’. Using the concepts of ‘nobility’, ‘authenticity’, and ‘depth’ that occupied post-war song discourses, we demonstrate the mechanisms of their circulation within the institute of Estrada in connection with the topoi of song statement that induce social imagination. To do this, we add the attitude for a thick description, in which the cultural meanings supplied by song statements appear in close connection with the Soviet social imagination, to the usual pattern of analysis of the adornian sociology of smash hits and chamber music forms.