Goodness and Mischief: On the Axiology of Perception of Soviet Animation

Keywords: animation, cartoons, memory, axiology, USSR


This article examines the basic categories that serve to verbalise memories of Soviet animation in the biographical experience of the generation born in the 1960s‑1970s. The participants’ childhood and personal development coincide with the functioning of the aesthetic model of Soviet animation established by the end of the 1960s and slowly evolving until the mid‑1980s. To collect qualitative data, the author conducted field research using a focused in-depth interview method. Among the main figures describing Soviet animation, the respondents most frequently mention the concepts of ‘goodness’ (Rus. dobrota) and ‘mischief’ (Rus. ozorstvo). The interviewees mention the word ‘goodness’ in the line of associations with the word ‘cartoon’ while the word ‘mischief’ emerges as a category of description of cartoon characters. The ‘goodness’ in the memories shared by the respondents is understood not in the behavioural but in the axiological sense of the word. The word ‘dobryi’ is used more often in the meaning of ‘doing good’ than ‘kind’. ‘Mischief’, instead of being antithetical to the notion of ‘goodness’, is a specific addition to it, being a concept realised through different linguistic means. With all the ritualisation of the forms of authoritative discourse represented in cartoon subjects, the concepts of ‘goodness’ and ‘mischief’ are evidence of a particular semiosis. Within it, notions of authority and norms do not become symbols of values in themselves, but only participate in the construction of signs referring to positively perceived values.

Author Biography

Jakub Sadowski

Dr. Hab. (History), PhD (Philology), Director of the Institute of Eastern Slavonic Studies, Jagiellonian University.
24, Gołębia Str., 31-007, Kraków, Poland.

ORCID 0000-0002-2109-4451


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How to Cite
Sadowski, J. (2022). Goodness and Mischief: On the Axiology of Perception of Soviet Animation. Quaestio Rossica, 10(2), 558–576.
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