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.
In The Press
Politics in Color and Concrete is an eloquent analysis of the material transformations of domestic space during the four decades of socialism and the following political-economic transformation in Hungary. . . . Fehérváry's approach not only brings a fresh look at the period through its focus on everyday materialities but also offers a welcome correction to the often-simplified understandings of abrupt socialist–capitalist change.
About The Author
Krisztina Fehérváry is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan.