Social Inequality under Soviet Ideology: Analysis of the Discourse System in the Film “Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears”

By Juan Miguel Valdera Gil.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic Free Download

This article analyzes the discourse related to social inequality that appears in the Soviet film Moscow “Does Not Believe in Tears.” Twenty years have passed since the fall of the USSR. Interviews, feature articles in the press, and documentaries remind us of the anniversary of that event. Newly published books appear seeking to explore communism’s historic reach, explain the failure of Peristroika, or shed light upon lesser known aspects of Stalin. This article aims to analyze, though only in part, the discourse that existed within Soviet society about the phenomenon of inequality. Our eminently sociological approximation will be based upon a film very popular with the Russian people. Directed by Vladimir Menshov, it won the 1980 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It tells the story of three provincial girls in the late 1950s who emigrate to Moscow in search of a better life. Fernando Conde’s “Análisis sociológico del sistema de discursos” [Sociological Analysis of Discourse Systems], published by the Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas (CIS) [Center for Sociological Research], will be our guide for the empirical work. We will be experimenting with this book, originally intended for discussion group and interview analysis, to see how useful it is when applied to film.

Keywords: Socialist Social Stratification, Social Mobility, Soviet Way of Life, Socialist Meritocracy

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp.49-70. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 692.495KB).

Juan Miguel Valdera Gil

University of Granada, Granada, Spain

Graduated in Sociology with honours from the University of Granada. Juan Miguel’s interests are aimed at the study of the social system of stratification under Soviet rule. He has worked as a researcher in the Department of Sociology at the University of Granada, where he was granted a scholarship funded by The Spanish Ministry of Education’s National Program to train university teaching staff (FPU). During his time as a lecturer at Granada University, he taught Sociology of Education at different programmes of study. Juan Miguel studied two years in Russia and then carried out research at the Centre for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Birmingham (United Kingdom). Now he is finishing his doctoral thesis and preparing for his viva voce.