The Role of Ethnographers in the Invention of Socialist Traditions in the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic


  • Ilze Boldāne-Zeļenkova University of Latvia


This study, based on archive document research and analysis of publications by Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic (LSSR) ethnographers, discusses the process of invention and implementation of Socialist traditions and the role of scientists in this. The introduction of Soviet traditions in Latvia did not begin immediately after the Second World War when the communist occupation regime was restored. The occupation regime in the framework of an anti-religious campaign turned to the transformation of traditions that affect individual’s private sphere and relate to church rituals – baptism, confirmation, weddings, funerals, Latvian cemetery festivities – in the second half of 1950s, along with the implementation of revolutionary and labour traditions. In order to achieve the goals set by the Communist Party, a new structure of institutions was formed and specialists from many fields were involved, including ethnographers from the Institute of History at the LSSR Academy of Sciences (hereinafter – LSSR AS). Ethnographers offered recommendations, as well as observed and analysed the process, discussing it in meetings of official commissions and sharing the conclusions in scientific publications, presentations, etc.


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Author Biography

Ilze Boldāne-Zeļenkova, University of Latvia







Articles (special issue)