Socialist Tbilisi (1925-1991)
The Socialist City
The socialist city, celebrated in the golden age of socialist films especially beginning in the early 1960s, involved the production of public urban spaces including regulation of everyday urban practices on streets or in gardens, production of "cultured" spaces such as cafes, boulevards, parks, gardens, and monuments, alongside aestheticized technical achievements such as the creation of the Tbilisi Metro, part of a general narrative of a "European" socialist civilizing process defined against the residue of the "Oriental" city.
"My Tbilisi" The expanding socialist city in the 1960s
Tbilisi in the 1960s underwent a huge building campaign, which expanded the physical size of the city in space and population, as well as an explosion of new aestheticized infrastructure projects, such as the Metro (cf. Jenks 2000, Lemon 2000).This was also the golden age of Georgian cinema.Situated within a broader literature addressing the specificities of Socialist cities, we draw more particularly from literatures on a series of socialist campaigns to produce a "cultured" socialist city and city-dweller (Fitzpatrick 1992, 1999, Kotkin 1995, Kelly and Volkov 1998, Volkov 2000, Fehervary 2013).As socialist planners sought to build a socialist city, they also sought to create socialist city-dwellers.Here we attend to the socialist city as an example of "heterogeneous engineering", a single process of social and technical engineering which sought to produce new infrastructures and new city-dwellers, new "cultured" norms comportment and new affective attachments to the city.All these achievements are explicitly promulgated in Georgian films in the period, which celebrate a "cultured" socialist city that each city-dweller could call "My Tbilisi".