Lessons in everyday nationhood: childhood memories of ‘breaching’ the nation

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10 Scopus citations


The Soviet nation-building project placed children at the center of complex and contradictory political socialization processes that aimed to simultaneously forge a common Soviet identity while promoting national languages and cultures. This ambitious nation-building project was explicitly taught in the official school curriculum and further reinforced through children’s participation in political youth organizations. But children learned the Soviet nationhood also through mundane, everyday practices. This article explores how children growing up in the Soviet Union became ‘national’ subjects in times and spaces where the nation was taught implicitly–and learned unselfconsciously–in the everyday. Building on the work of John Fox and others, the article makes ordinary, taken-for-granted expressions of nationalism visible by retelling childhood memories of ‘breaching’ the nation–that is, instances when the unspoken order of the Soviet ‘nation’ was unexpectedly upset and needed to be restored–through such everyday experiences as wearing (or not) a hair-bow or sharing jokes about bows in girls’ hair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)539-551
Number of pages13
JournalChildren's Geographies
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2021


  • Banal nationalism
  • Soviet school
  • childhood memories
  • political socialization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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