Cult Representations

  • Kevin Morgan


In the internationalisation of the cult phenomenon, one obvious challenge was the projection of personality across state and linguistic boundaries. Another was that posed by material and legal constraints and opportunities that varied hugely between ruling and non-ruling communist parties. The representation of communist cult figures was thus influenced both by the skills and expectations of different audiences and by the forms of mass communication that were available in seeking to reach these audiences. Chapter 6 begins by discussing the representation of communist cult figures through film, photography, the radio and artworks, notably Picasso’s famous drawing of Stalin on his death. The chapter then discusses the paradox of the cult biography which was indispensable to the claims invested in the leader but at the same time almost impossible to construct according to the canons of the biographical genre. Stalinism is sometimes described as an age of biographical flourishing, but it is also presented here as an age of biographical devastation in which lives and persons were decimated that cast a shadow over the consummate personal history of the leader. The final section discusses the communist conception of the role of the individual in history, both in theoretical terms and through the contested historical legacies which are here described as appropriation cults.


Communist Party Personality Cult Leader Cult Communist Parti Appropriation Cult 
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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin Morgan
    • 1
  1. 1.Sch of Social Sci PoliticsUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK

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