Labor Dynasty as a Metaphor

Keywords: workers, labor dynasty, metaphor


The article analyzes the origins and evolution of the metaphor of “labor dynasty” in the Soviet discourse. In the era of the first five-year plans, the Soviet government made a strong effort to emphasize the elite status of workers. At this time, party officials used a genealogical approach to label “us” and “others.” A person with the status of “hereditary proletarian” was deemed more politically credible. At the turn of the 1930s, “hereditary proletarians” were opposed in public rhetoric to the “workers’ aristocracy” – skilled workers who resisted the regime and negatively influenced the “masses” of new laborers. This term was not used anywhere outside trade union censuses and special works on the history of the structure of the working class in the USSR. Therefore, we may consider this metaphor “dead” (P. Ricker). In the 1930s and the following decades, a secularized cult of the worker’s labor took shape. It had its own pantheon and memorials. Part of this process was the creation of practices for the representation of manual labor as honorable. Appropriate linguistic tools and metaphors emerged to describe the new status of the proletariat, reflecting the spirit of social change. They were recorded in dictionaries. Thus, in the late 1940s, the word “dynasty” is given two meanings in S. Ozhegov’s dictionary, one of which was “workers who consistently pass on from generation to generation their skills and labor traditions.” In this way, semantic innovation took place. The “labor dynasty” metaphor became entrenched during the 1950s to 1980s. It found active use in journalistic discourse. Articles and essays were published on this subject, documentaries were made, theme museums were opened, pan-Union congresses of representatives of labor dynasties were held, etc. The formation and perpetuation of a pattern of labor relations modeled on the family was designed to promote discipline and prevent labor conflicts.


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How to Cite
Liubavskyi, R. H. (2020). Labor Dynasty as a Metaphor. The Journal of V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University. Series: History, (58), 25-38.