Project Summary

A study of the growth of urban centers during the 1930s, centered primarily on the largest and most famous of the new cities, Magnitogorsk. This project analyzes the process of building a new urban center and shaping the city’s dominant character as tried and tested by local and national contraversies (purges, the nature of social mobility, use of fear, the ’second economy’, forced labor, population migration, and attempts at regulation). Beyond the grander social questions, this study attempts to reconstruct the lived experience in the face of an emerging new subjectivity. Kotkin purposes that this study has implications for the more universal questions of the interconnection of industrialization and urbanization, the transition from agrarian to industrial societies, and the nature of cities in the industrial age.