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ERIC Number: EJ1171770
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0030-9230
Controlling the Image of the Teacher's Body under Authoritarianism: The Case of Soviet Latvia (1953-1984)
Kestere, Iveta; Kalke, Baiba
Paedagogica Historica: International Journal of the History of Education, v54 n1-2 p184-203 2018
The ideal of the Soviet teacher can be revealed in Soviet mass media, but historians are challenged by the question "what was the actual reality"? Therefore, we addressed the reality of the Soviet school using two research questions: (1) What teacher image was cultivated by Soviet propaganda, and what did the average teacher actually look like? and (2) How did Soviet power try to counteract the "incorrect" image of the teacher? Our research is based on visual sources and written texts created between 1953 and 1985. The image of the ideal teacher appeared in textbooks, while the real teacher could be found in photographs. In both sources, characteristics such as gender, age, hair type, and facial expressions were identified. We compared the typology of Soviet teachers with teachers from other societies, as well as changes in teacher image in a political and social context. Our research shows that the ideal Soviet teacher was a modest, serious, asexual young female. The reality differed only in age--the teacher was actually a middle-aged woman. Rarely did a "real" teacher step out of conservative boundaries in terms of modern hairstyles, outlandish clothing style, or the use of cosmetics--these actions would result in the teacher being publicly chastised. The image of the ideal teacher reveals contradictions in Soviet ideology: on the one hand, communists heralded the equality of the sexes, but on the other hand, it relegated women to roles traditionally associated with the female sex. The identity of the young teacher was declarative only, as the youth of the Soviet Union actually implemented the agenda set out by the older generation. The actual image of the teacher was also tied to political correctness and the realities of the economic situation in the USSR.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Latvia; USSR
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A