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Dr. Kathleen Beger

Doctoral Project (completed)

Erziehung und “Unerziehung” in der Sowjetunion: Das Pionierlager Artek und die Archangelsker Arbeitskolonie im Vergleich — abgeschlossen

Education and „Un-Education“ in the Soviet Union: The Pioneer Camp Artek and the Arkhangelsk Labour and Education Colony Compared — completed

In the Soviet Union, children and adolescents were not only considered revolutionary bearers of hope but also a threat to inner security. The state’s handling of its youth ranged from well-meaning educational to repressive disciplinary means and measures. The study traces the Janus face of Soviet child and youth policy by comparing the outstanding pioneer camp Artek with the harsh labour and education colony in Arkhangelsk. In a first step, it illuminates pedagogical concepts and ideals existing in the Soviet Union. Secondly, it analyses how they were implemented in these two institutions. This demonstrates that the Soviets’ utopian visions were irreconcilable with the social realities. Both the Artek camp and the Arkhangelsk colony neither met the state’s nor society’s expectations. Further, they perverted their initial goals or achieved results that had never been intended. Consequently, the study perceives children and adolescents not only as victims and passively suffering persons but also as perpetrators and actively engaged players. Beyond political and ideological instrumentalization they did have room for manoeuvre. Children and adolescents were often able to evade official requirements and realized their own interests instead. Stretching from the 1920s until the 1980s, the study focusses on continuities and discontinuities, breaks and transformations as well as contradictions, anomalies and frictions. Finally, it deepens our understanding of the Soviet Union’s ambivalent children and youth policy as well as of the functioning of “total institutions” (Erving Goffman) in general.

Published as:

Erziehung und “Unerziehung” in der Sowjetunion: Das Pionierlager Artek und die Archangelsker Arbeitskolonie im Vergleich (= Schnittstellen. Studien zum östlichen und südöstlichen Europa. Bd. 19. Hg. Martin Schulze Wessel und Ulf Brunnbauer). Göttingen 2020.


Curriculum Vitae

Kathleen Beger studied East Slavonic Studies, Polish Philology and East European History at the Universities of Leipzig, Kyiv and Vienna. From 2012 to 2014, she was research assistant in the project “Thousand Years of Ukrainian Language History in Galicia” at the Department of Slavonic Studies at the University of Vienna. She conducted a research stay in Lviv in 2012 and finished her master thesis on “Surveys on the codification of the Ukrainian language. Spelling reforms and their implementation in Galicia between 1919 and 1938” in 2013. From 2014 to 2018, she was research assistant and lecturer at the chair of Southeast and East European History at the University of Regensburg.