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Reimann, Heli / HY (väitös 28.11.2015): Jazz in Soviet Estonia from 1944 to 1953: meanings, spaces and paradoxes

In Estonian jazz history, the time from 1944 to 1953 was a dynamic and contradictory period, when the official status of the music changed from a highly  prized musical form during the postwar era to the status of musica non grata in 1950. Paradoxically enough, despite attempts by the Soviet power to exterminate jazz from cultural life, jazz music did not disappear but moved to more ‘hidden' private spaces.

This dissertation seeks to explore the meanings of Soviet  Estonian jazz culture during this contradictory period. It argues that the meaning of jazz was shaped as a product of the interplay between Soviet socio-political forces, the traditions of jazz culture, and the actions of cultural agents. The proposed original four-dimensional framework called as ‘cultural spaces of action' avoids the common strategies of confrontation between ‘Soviet power' and ‘culture' where power is seen to dominate over creative people, and discloses the paradoxical nature of jazz in the Soviet Union, where jazz was concurrently forbidden but not silent.

This interdisciplinary study combines methodologies from transnational Jazz Studies, Soviet studies, Estonian history, New Cultural History and microhistory, and refers to source pluralism as a main method of research.