The Politics of the Senses: Crowd Formation through Sensory Manipulation
In 2003, the Swiss journalist Christoph Neidhart published an intriguing analysis of the transition from Soviet communism to the post-communist society of Russia (Neidhart, 2003). Neidhart did not focus primarily on economic or political changes such as how a new economic elite has emerged in the wake of the communist breakdown. Rather he was interested in how the sensory impressions have changed fundamentally as a result of the transition. Russia simply smells, looks, sounds, tastes and feels different than in the Soviet era. As an effect of liberalization, for instance, Russia offers a number of new tastes (new types of food) that were not available in the Soviet system. Similarly, public space allegedly smells different (and better) today, as queues have been reduced and access to Western fragrances has become easier.
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