Politics in Color and Concrete: Socialist Materialities and the Middle Class in Hungary

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2016 Award - Honorable Mention

by Krisztina Fehérváry
Publisher: Indiana University Press (2013)

Jury Statement

Material culture in Eastern Europe under state socialism is remembered as uniformly gray, shabby, and monotonous—the worst of postwar modernist architecture and design. Politics in Color and Concrete revisits this history by exploring domestic space in Hungary from the 1950s through the 1990s and reconstructs the multi-textured and politicized aesthetics of daily life through the objects, spaces, and colors that made up this lived environment. Krisztina Féherváry shows that contemporary standards of living and ideas about normalcy have roots in late socialist consumer culture and are not merely products of postsocialist transitions or neoliberalism. This engaging study decenters conventional perspectives on consumer capitalism, home ownership, and citizenship in the new Europe.

About the Author

Krisztina Fehérváry is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan.

2016 Jury

Karl Ameriks
McMahon-Hank Professor of Philosophy
College of Arts and Letters, University of Notre Dame

John E. Hare
Noah Porter Professor of Philosophical Theology
Yale Divinity School, Yale University

Anne Lake Prescott
Senior Scholar and Emerita Helen Goodhart Altschul Professor of English
Barnard College, Columbia University

Ingrid Rowland
Professor of Architecture, University of Notre Dame Rome Global Gateway
School of Architecture, University of Notre Dame

Roger Scruton
Senior Fellow, Ethics & Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.

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