The Politics of Leisure in Totalitarian Societies

  • Vassil Girginov


This chapter explores leisure’s role in the construction of totalitarian politics in Eastern Europe. A meaningful understanding of the contribution of leisure to totalitarian politics needs to go beyond the master narrative of the total state domination over civil society through a reign of terror and submission of the individual to the collective. Leisure emerged almost universally as a main concern of the state and was framed not just as an antidote to work but was closely intertwined with labour and the intellectual, moral and physical development of the individual. This understanding of the “new man” has prompted establishing a range of egalitarian welfare policies coordinated by the state and designed to provide the material, informational and environmental conditions necessary for leisure activities. Similar to leisure policies elsewhere, the role of leisure under totalitarianism was essentially about identity formation, the representation of solidarity, the achievement of control and civic regulation through resistance.


Totalitarianism Totalitarian policy Leisure 


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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vassil Girginov
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Life Sciences, College of Health and Life SciencesBrunel University LondonUxbridgeUK

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