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2020 | 106 | 3 | 657-698

Article title

Od subjektivity k dějinám společnosti? Igal Halfin a formování studií "sovětské subjektivity" v západní historiografii sovětského Ruska:


Title variants

From subjectivity to the history of society? Igal Halfin and the making of “Soviet Subjectivity” studies in the Western Historiography of Soviet Russia:
От субъективности к истории общества? Игал Халфин и формирование исследований «советской субъективности» в западной историографии советской России:

Languages of publication



The study of so-called Soviet Subjectivity belongs to the most visible versions of the linguistic or cultural turn in the Anglophone historiography of Soviet studies, especially during its growth between the mid-1990s and the end of the 2010s. This current of historical research is introduced on the background of new cultural history, the influence of post-structuralism and the writings of the late Michel Foucault. The depicting of the process “subjectivation”, and so-called productive subject in the early works of the leading representatives of the genre – Jochen Hellbeck, Igal Halfin and Oleg V. Kharkhordin, is the way out to the critical debate of the central premises of two subsequent Halfin’s books, Intimate Enemies (2007) and Stalinist Confessions (2009). I do not object to his post-structuralist epistemology but his discursive over-determination, and his explication of the period of the 1920s and 1930s solely through the lenses of the “communist eschatology”. I point out as well that he does not persuasively expound the pivotal category of confession, among else because he does not comply with the principles adhered by Foucault.


  • Slovanský přehled, redakce, Historický ústav AV ČR, v.v.i., Prosecká 76, 190 00 Praha 9, Czech Republic


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Publication order reference


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