Constitution and narrative
peculiarities of rhetoric and genre in the foundational laws of the USSR and the Russian federation
Constitutions are not just legal texts but form a narrative with an engaging plot, a hierarchy of actors and a distinct ideology. They can be read and interpreted as literary texts. The four constitutions in 20th century Russia (1924, 1936, 1977, 1993) can be attributed to specific genres (drama, fairy tale, gospel, performance). Moreover, they interact closely with the official culture of their time (painting, collage, film, literature). The constitutions serve an important task in the cultural self-definition of Russian society which as a rule occurred in moments of ideological crisis. The case of Russia is especially intriguing since the utopian project of a just society needed in every stage of its evolution (revolution, consolidation, "developed socialism", postcommunism) a new convincing design which was able to guarantee the citizens' loyalty to the state.
Schmid, U. (2010). Constitution and narrative: peculiarities of rhetoric and genre in the foundational laws of the USSR and the Russian federation. Studies in East European Thought 62 (3-4), pp. 431-451.
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