In Koenker’s The Proliterian Tourist in the 1930s, and Reagin’s Comparing Apples and Oranges, both authors place emphasis on specific societal institutions. Tourism in the Soviet Union became very politically focused during the inter-war period. In Germany, the ideals of consumption were promoted by housewives. Both articles provide basic insights into each organization and their various contributions to society. It is clear that in both the Soviet Union and Germany, tourism and housewife organizations were utilized for the promotion of political and social ideologies.
Koenker’s description of tourism was both intriguing and surprising; she argued that a concept as seemingly casual as tourism had intentions of a larger political scheme, which was to promote socialism, and stray away from the bourgeois life. While there are many obvious ways in which they implemented this change, it is shocking that the Soviets would turn to organizations like tourism to solve these issues. This essay is substantial, because it depicts the significance of everyday activities with regards to a larger political agenda.
Comparing Apples and Oranges was similarly striking in terms of highlighting Germany’s reliance on everyday institutions to solve social and political issues. What was surprising in this article was the reliance on women to solve such substantial issues. During the inter-war period, it was clear that the woman’s place was in the home. While this article supports that ideal, it argues that being a housewife was actually a crucial responsibility. Housewife organizations were responsible for promoting German manufactured goods, rationalization, and natural ingredients. It is surprising that women, as second-class citizens at that time, would be relied upon for such pressing issues.
Why were everyday organizations like tourism and housewife organizations targeted as catalysts for political change? Why were these specific groups believed to be beneficial to the political agendas of the Soviet Union and Germany?