In the Soviet Union and the eastern bloc, the idea of "vacation" was never as uncomplicated as throwing some suitcases in the car and heading for the beach. The emphasis was on individual self-improvement within the framework of the collective, an approach manifest in everything from the scheduling of physical exercise to the group tours organized for factory workers, Party cadres, and other segments of society. Like other Soviet-style utopian projects, socialist tourism, which was often heavily laden with rules and prescriptions, was a consciousness-raising project, part of the vast effort to forge new socialist men and women.
Turizm is the first book to examine the history of tourism in Russia and eastern Europe from the tsarist period to the age of Soviet and east European mass tourism in the 1960s and 1970s. The contributors to this volume address topics including the roots of socialist tourism, the role of tourism in the making of nations and maintenance of empire, and ways in which the men and women of the "margins of Europe" understood themselves in relation to "Europe." Especially interesting are chapters that show how individuals pursued their own consumerist goals within the framework of collective tourism, obliging the regimes to adapt. Illustrated with period photographs and promotional materials, Turizm will appeal not only to historians of the region but also to anyone with an interest in consumer culture, travel, leisure, and nation-building.