The Aesthetics of Fear and Power in Soviet Posters

The Aesthetics of Fear and Power in Soviet Posters

Ömer Çakın (Ondokuz Mayıs University, Turkey) and Mehmet A. Günay (Gümüşhane University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4655-0.ch017
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Abstract

The concept of aesthetics has been one of the most discussed topics from past to present. Marxists saw aesthetics as an aesthetic assimilation of nature and reality and defined it as the laws of artistic culture. In this sense, Russian artists did not compromise on aesthetics in the paintings and posters which they produced. In these artworks, where aesthetics are not ignored, it is possible to see how the government creates the hegemony over fear. On this account, governments can easily manage this orientation process by establishing domination of individuals and institutions with fear. The posters produced in the Soviet Union, which also functioned to direct the society, became one of the most important propaganda tools of the government. These posters, presented with an aesthetic value, played an important role in reflecting the will of the government to the society. This study reveals how the fear and power had been transformed into an aesthetic appearance in the Soviet posters through the semiotics analysis method.
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Aesthetics

The word aesthetic is derived from the Greek “aisthesis” or “aisthanesthai” terms. “Aisthesis” word means sensation and “aisthanesthai” word related to perceiving, feel, sense (Tunalı, 1998; Turani, 1995: p. 40; Shusterman, 2000). The Greeks used the concept of aesthetics in an epistemological context. In other words, the word “aesthetics” is an epistemological word used in the meaning of information revealed by our senses and perceptions. Since the outside world is constantly changing, unlike the knowledge gained through the mind, it reveals what we know about the changing World (Taşdelen & Yazıcı, 2012: p. 3).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Proletariat: The term proletariat (from the Latin word, ‘proles’) is used to describe the sub-social class, and people belonging to this class are called proletarians.

Ideology: It is a set of thoughts that form an intellectual, social, or political doctrine, and can also be adopted as an ideal, directing the behavior of individuals and institutions.

Collectivization: Collectivization is the Marxist-Leninist policy implemented in the Soviet Union from 1928 to 1933. It aimed to replace the soils owned by the individuals and also the individual labor with collective agriculture and labor (kolkhoz).

Poster: It is prepared to announce or introduce an idea, and hanged where the crowds can see it and is usually defined as a picture, wall poster, etc.

Aesthetic: Sensory perception, is the branch of philosophy related to beauty and the effects of beauty on the human mind and emotions. The concept of aesthetics originally derived from the Greek “aisthesis” and was first used by Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten (d: 26.05.1762).

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