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Digital Materialities Webinar # 7

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Militant candies in the Soviet Union, by Raluca Parfentie

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Who said candies can't succeed in politics? The analysis of 200 Soviet candy wrappers, printed in the 1920s-50s, gathered from different virtual sources, proves otherwise.

In the USSR, candies have served not only to satisfy citizens’ sweet tooth. By reflecting the official ideology on their wrappers, they also fed people’s mind with propaganda, spreading ideas about the organization of daily life, children’s education, public enemies, and so on.

This research tries to reveal the circumstances that led to the transformation of candies into communist militants and to highlight the main ideas promoted by this atypical political supporters, relating their copious imagistic discourse to the time in which it was produced and the whims of the official leaders. In brief, it's the story of how a totalitarian system tried to become “palatable”, and of how a few carefully kept candy wrappers have become tangible testimonies of a bygone era.

Raluca Parfentie holds a PhD in Philology (University of Bucharest; 2019), with a doctoral thesis about „Interwar Romanian food: a visual and linguistic approach”. She is interested in the connection between food, culture and society. Papers published in Romania, Republic of Moldova and England. Her study on propaganda and Soviet candies was printed in book form by Moldova State University Publishing House (2016).

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