Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Andrew Calabrese

Second Advisor

Deserai Crow

Third Advisor

Nabil Echchaibi

Fourth Advisor

Janice Peck

Fifth Advisor

Stewart Hoover


It is well documented that the attempts of various societies to modernize themselves lead not only to appropriations of modernity, but also to popular disillusionment: the loss of hope for quick positive changes or even realization that those changes were unnecessary. Using the case study of Gorbachev’s perestroika, this thesis shows: The seeds of popular post-revolutionary frustration should be sought in pre-revolutionary discourses on democracy, market, liberalism, and other concepts of Western modernity that are produced outside local contexts and introduced through the channels of global communication and the interpretations of journalists, politicians, activists, and experts. Through such interpretations, the mythologizing of these concepts takes place: they transform into empty forms to be filled with new mythical signification. This thesis also suggests that such re-significations do not necessarily bring new stable and coherent meanings, as Barthes projected; often they combine irreconcilable and shifting fragments, more in accordance with the logic of postmodernism.