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Religion in Secular ArchivesSoviet Atheism and Historical Knowledge$
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Sonja Luehrmann

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199943623

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199943623.001.0001

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From Documents to Books, and Back

From Documents to Books, and Back

Atheist Sociology through an Archival Lens

(p.101) Chapter 3 From Documents to Books, and Back
Religion in Secular Archives

Sonja Luehrmann

Oxford University Press

Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, much of what was known in the West on the state of Soviet religious life relied either on émigré accounts or on the publications of Soviet sociologists of religion. Since Russian archives have become accessible, it is unclear what value, if any, these publications still have. This chapter uses the archives to contextualize published sociological studies and learn about their context of production in the 1960s and ’70s. Archives rarely present true discoveries that were censored out of publications. Parallel readings of published and archival sources show that blind spots were built into the data gathering rather than the publication process. The enduring interest of Soviet sociological studies lies in the courage it took to champion empirical perspectives on religious life, even when they challenged the evolutionist models of orthodox Marxism-Leninism.

Keywords:   sociology of religion, empiricism, Viktor Grigor’evich Pivovarov, Viktor Stepanovich Solov’ev, Raufa Karimovna Urazmanova, survey research, Institute of Scientific Atheism, Brezhnev era

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