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Meanings of Jazz in State Socialism


Edited By Gertrud Pickhan and Rüdiger Ritter

During the Cold War, jazz became a cultural weapon that was employed by both sides to advance their interests. This volume explores the history and roles of jazz in Poland, the German Democratic Republic (GDR), Czechoslovakia, Hungary, the Soviet Union, and the Baltic States by means of several case studies. The American administration attempted to destabilize the political systems of the Eastern Bloc countries, while the powers responsible for culture in the Eastern Bloc countries tried to curtail the US propaganda campaign. This resulted in distinct jazz traditions and jazz scenes, each governed by a distinct behavioural codex, as well as official responses in each of the Eastern Bloc countries.
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Authors’ CVs


Marta Domurat-Linde (*1979), studied Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology at the University of Warsaw and Culture Studies at European University Viadrina in Frankfurt / Oder. She is a PhD candidate at Free University Berlin working on a dissertation on the cultural significance of jazz in the Polish People’s Republic and in post-communist Poland. Contact:

Gergő Havadi (*1976), studied Sociology and now pursues a PhD at Eötvös Lórand University in Budapest. He has a special interest in the everyday life of socialist Hungary and has conducted research on, for example, the social impact of inns and pubs on forms and conventions of entertainment, musical subcultures, and social (public) networks. Contact:

Peter Motyčka (*1978), is a PhD candidate focussing on jazz and popular music in the Department of Musicology at Comenius University and at the Institute of Musicology at the Slovak Academy of Sciences, both in Bratislava. A member of staff of the Music Centre Slovakia since 2008, he is editor-in-chief of the monthly music magazine Hudobný život, covering classical music and jazz, and coordinates the Slovak jazz musician database. He also regularly contributes to various Slovak/Czech print and web publications and acts as a jazz projects consultant to the Slovak Ministry of Culture. Contact:

Gertrud Pickhan (*1956) earned her PhD in History at the University of Hamburg in May 1989. After teaching at the Bundeswehr University in Hamburg from 1985–1992, she was a...

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