It was a highly politicized field in the Country Email List Cold War, and the "totalitarianism model" – based on the idea of the essential similarity between the Soviet system and that of Nazi Germany – served not only academic but also political ends. My Country Email List decision to make "history from below" came not during my first research period in the Soviet Union, but after I moved to the USA .. That reflected, first of all, what was happening in professional historiography Country Email List as a whole. They were all heading toward social history, which had been quantitative, but was now becoming more qualitative.
Doing social history then was like doing Country Email List cultural history in the 1990s: everyone was drawn to it. In the Soviet case, there was an additional issue. If history was written considering that everything came "from above", making history was very Country Email List easy: you could read all the official declarations, the resolutions of the Central Committee, the laws of the Council of Ministers and say: "Perfect, this is what has passed". If, for example, someone was interested in the Country Email List peasantry, he could read all the laws and resolutions relating to the peasantry and deduce the real.
As I rather cynically realized later, laws Country Email List nd instructions were often more useful to the social historian because of a kind of reverse reading: they told you how the authorities wanted things to be, not how they were; and his prohibition lists were often Country Email List an excellent guide to the kinds of practices that were common in real life. I thought that making history from below was also an especially interesting challenge in Soviet history because no one Country Email List had tried to do it before. It was not very clear what the sources would be, although they were clearly inadequate, especially for the 30s and 40s.