Rock And Roll In The Rocket City Summary

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The book I read was Rock and Roll in the Rocket City: The West, Identity, and Ideology in Soviet Dniepropetrovsk, 1960–1985 by Professor Sergiy I. Zhuk. In this book, Zhuk explores the idea of youth identity, and the effect of “western” popular culture on this and the Party-state in Dniepropetrovsk. Dniepropetrovsk, a city in eastern Ukraine, was crucial to Soviet rocket production. As such, it was closed to foreigners as of 1959. Zhuk argues that Soviet control proved unsuccessful in preventing increasingly large segments of young eastern-Ukrainians from rejecting traditional Ukrainian popular culture and the Soviet-defined youth identity in favor of embracing “western” popular culture. The first part of the book covers what the author…show more content…
In this time period, “western” music spread to young laborers and women of all social groups as British hard-rock bands, namely Deep Purple, appealed to the youth masses. In addition, “western” adventure stories and movies captured the imagination of more of Dniepropetrovsk's youth. The fascination with “western” music led to a fascination with religion among a segment of youth who followed popular band "the Beatles" into East Asian religions, or became interested in Christianity due to the rock opera "Jesus Christ Superstar." The Dniepropetrovsk youth fascinated with “western” popular culture had to acquire their information in Russian, which led to “a gradual Russiafication of popular culture." The central organs allowed the formation of official Soviet rock groups starting in the late-1960s, with an ideology-filled catalog and a limited release of records by “western” bands, but only those perceived as sympathetic to the USSR. In the process, they overruled the reluctance of Dniepropetrovsk political officials to adopt these measures, causing anxiety among these officials and a distancing from Moscow. Zhuk suggests that a similar distancing occurred among local Dniepropetrovsk youth, despite their Russification, as Moscow continued ideological restrictions on cultural goods. This, combined with envy of varied consumption products in the capital, resulted in an increasingly regionalized youth

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