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Flowers Through ConcreteExplorations in Soviet Hippieland$
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Juliane Fürst

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780198788324

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198788324.001.0001

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(p.344) 8 Madness
Flowers Through Concrete

Juliane Fürst

Oxford University Press

In this chapter the complex relationship between hippies, the state, and the trope of madness is discussed. Hippies often feigned mental illness in order to escape army service—an action that was facilitated by the Soviet state’s usage of schizophrenia as a diagnosis for dissidents and other nonconformists. Excused from the army and armed with an official document certifying their ‘craziness’ hippies felt free from many of the demands of Soviet life and society. At the same time, the state used psychiatry to lock away unwanted social elements such as hippies, severely curtailing their general freedom, sometimes for years. The battlefield of insanity was hence an interface at which Soviet hippies and state competed for discursive and real power.

Keywords:   hippies, psychiatry, political protest, drugs, nonconformists

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