From young pioneers to young managers: the utopia of the birth of a new man in the early 1990s

 
PIIS023620070005961-4-1
DOI10.31857/S023620070005961-4
Publication type Article
Status Published
Authors
Occupation: Assistant professor, department of sociology of the social sciences faculty; senior research fellow
Affiliation:
National Research University “Higher school of economics”
RAS Federal research center of sociology
Address: 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow 101000, Russian Federation
Journal nameChelovek
EditionVolume 30 Issue №4
Pages130-148
Abstract

The period of the late perestroika and the 1990s in Russia wants for some extra studies and reflection, since many historical myths and stereotypes have been developed around it, leading to its simplistic understanding. In addition, the references to the “wild” or, on the other hand, “free” nineties are heavily used by various political forces in their ideological interests. Therefore, it is important to look at that period in the perspective of social microhistory. Many developments that occurred in the post-Soviet space are seen clearer through the lens the daily routine and the life of certain groups and communities. Thе article is focused on the early nineties and deals with the transformation of the worldview of adolescents in the period of that time inspired by the ideology of personal and business success. It is shown that utopian ideas of growing up a “new Soviet man” was translated into the utopia of a “man of the capitalist future”, who would change the situation in the country. The focal point of the article is the case of schools of young managers – a spontaneous educational movement that emerged at the turn of 1989-90 in the form of supplementary training courses for high schoolers. The primary missiom of the schools of young managers was to transform the mentality of Soviet adolescents so that to adapt it for the needs of the market economy and the values of individual prosperity instead of the spirit of collectivism. In total, at least three dozen such educational centers operated in various cities. Their training programs included the basics of a market economy, entrepreneurship, marketing and management, but the primary mission was to develop the mentality of a “successful business man” through reading and mastering the work of the American classic of “personal success” Dale Carnegie, biographies of American and Japanese top managers and major entrepreneurs. For some students, training in the schools of young managers predetermined their further professional and personal biography. The article is performed in the genre of oral history and sociology of everyday life and is based on the analysis of publications of the business media of late perestroika and interviews with students of young managers' schools.

Keywordsperestroika, nineties, utopia, mass consciousness, worldview, school, adolescents, market, individualism
Received23.07.2019
Publication date30.07.2019
Number of characters37245
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