‘The Architecture of the USA’ Exhibition in the Soviet Union of the Cold War Era: the Experience of Communicative Analysis

Olga Yakushenko

Abstract


American exhibitions in the USSR are traditionally treated in historiography as part of American Cold War propaganda for winning the “hearts and minds” of Soviet citizens. The author analyzes one of these exhibitions, The Architecture of the USA (Leningrad, Moscow, Minsk, 1965), as a complex communicative process. The article treats the communication channel (an American exhibition as a type of event) and the message (the theme of the exhibition under consideration) separately. The author suggests that American exhibitions as a type of event could be seen as propaganda regardless of their content. They had a stable, complex form that created an attractive image of the US, although the message of the exhibition, its display and its theme were neutral. The form and the content of the exhibition had different audiences: the former attracted the general public, and the latter interested specialists. The author claims that Soviet visitors of American exhibitions constituted a specific ‘target for propaganda’, and some of them can be treated as ‘propaganda experts’. Propaganda may be defined as an intentionally manipulative type of communication, aimed at influencing the actions and opinions of recipients of information (Kecskemeti). However, the author proposes to concentrate on historical agents’ interpretation of propaganda; consequently, this article aims at understanding which aspects of the exhibition were seen as propaganda by the Soviet side.


Keywords


Soviet architecture; American exhibitions; USIA; propaganda; 1965

References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15826/qr.2015.3.116

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