4-5th March 2021, online
Since the offset of industrialization and intensified urbanization in the 19th century, consumer cultures have developed as a feature of modern societies. In earlier epochs, however, different forms of consumer cultures existed already. Even if consumer cultures are transnational phenomena, we can find different forms “nationalized” by a given society. Consumption in Eastern Europe is often associated with shortage and queuing, but even during socialism consumer cultures have developed as recent studies show. Advertising which for a long time seemed to have been absent under socialism is a related field of study: which forms and media of advertising existed, which open or hidden messages were transported, which functions did advertising have under socialism? Social differentiation, gender and materiality are connected subjects. All in all, consumption and consumer cultures as well as advertising can be seen as indicators for the attitudes and values of a society.
In recent years, consumer cultures have become an important field of historical research on everyday life. Especially with regard to the socialist societies in Eastern Europe some exciting topics have been analysed and approaches have been developed. The conference, jointly organised by the Association of Historians of Eastern Europe and the Herder Institute, aims to take up this trend and discuss different forms of consumption and advertising not only during the 20th century but also in a long-term perspective.
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