Victoria Bonnell

Victoria Bonnell

Professor Emeritus
482 Barrows
Research Interests
Historical Sociology, Soviet/Russian and East European Society and Culture Sociology of Everyday Life, Comparative and Historical Methods, Social Change

Victoria Bonnell studied as an undergraduate (B.A. Brandeis University) with Herbert Marcuse and in graduate school (Ph.D. Harvard University) with Barrington Moore, Jr. She approaches sociology from a multidisciplinary perspective, drawing on history, anthropology, literary theory, and political science. For the past twenty-five years, she has been deeply engaged with the cultural turn.

Professor Bonnell's research has focused on the Russian experience in the twentieth century, viewed in a comparative European context. She has written on a range of topics: revolutions from above and below (1905 and 1917, the Stalin revolution of the 1930s, and the upheavals of 1991), collective and individual identities in transition, and the changing function and content of visual culture.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, she turned her attention to contemporary topics, including the emergence of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial culture in post-communist Russia, the spread of extremist ideas and organizations, and in her most recent project, the symbols, rituals, and mythologies of the new Russian national identity. Along the way, she has also taken an interest in methodology-particularly the implications of the cultural turn and the contrasting discourses on methodology in historical/comparative research-and she has a long-standing fascination with the sociology of everyday life.

Professor Bonnell has chaired the Berkeley Program in Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies since 1998 and served as director of the Institute of Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies from 1994 to 2004.

Representative Publications

Work in Progress

“The Enigma of the Quotidian: Sociology of Everyday Life as a Field of Inquiry” (book-length manuscript)


2002 New Entrepreneurs of Europe and Asia: Russia, Eastern Europe and China, eds. Victoria E. Bonnell and Thomas B. Gold (Armonk: M.E. Sharpe)

2001 Russia in the New Century: Stability or Disorder? eds. Victoria E. Bonnell and George W. Breslauer (Boulder: Westview)

1999 Beyond the Cultural Turn: New Directions in the Study of Society and Culture,eds. Victoria E. Bonnell and Lynn Hunt (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press)

1997 Iconography of Power: Soviet Political Posters under Lenin and Stalin (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press)

1996 Identities in Transition: Eastern Europe and Russia After the Collapse of Communism, ed. Victoria E. Bonnell (Berkeley: IAS Press)

1994 Russia at the Barricades: Eyewitness Accounts of the August 1991 Coup, eds. Victoria E. Bonnell, Ann Cooper, and Gregory Freidin (Armonk: M.E. Sharpe)

1983 Roots of Rebellion: Workers' Politics and Organizations in St. Petersburg and Moscow, 1900-1914 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press)

1983 The Russian Worker: Life and Labor under the Tsarist Regime, ed. Victoria E. Bonnell (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press)

Published Articles and Chapters

2004 “Soviet and Post-Soviet Area Studies” (with George W. Breslauer) in David L. Szanton, ed. The Politics of Knowledge: Area Studies and the Disciplines (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press)

2001 “Russia’s New Entrepreneurs” in Victoria E. Bonnell and George W. Breslauer, eds., Russia in the New Century: Stability or Disorder? (Boulder: Westview)

1996 “Winners and Losers in Russia’s Transition” in Victoria E. Bonnell, ed., Identities in Transition: Russia and Eastern Europe after Communism (Berkeley, IAS Press)

1996 “The Leader’s Two Bodies: A Study in the Iconography of the Vozhd’,” Russian History/Histoire Russe vol. 23, nos. 1-4

1993 “Televorot: The Role of Television Coverage in Russia’s August 1991 Coup” in Nancy Condee, ed., Soviet Hieroglyphics: Visual Culture in Late Twentieth-Century Russia (Bloomington and London: Indian University Press, 1995) (co-authored with Gregory Freidin; a revised version of the Slavic Review essay, Review vol. 52, no. 4 [winter])

1994 “The Iconography of the Worker in Soviet Political Art” in Lewis Siegelbaum and Ronald Grigor Suny, eds., Making Workers Soviet (Ithaca: Cornell University Press)

1993 "The Peasant Woman in Stalinist Political Art of the 1930s" American Historical Review vol. 98 no. 1 (February) Reprinted in The Aesthetic Arsenal: Socialist Realism Under Stalin, ed. Miranda Banks (New York: Institute for Contemporary Art, 1993); translated into Russian: “Krest’ianka v politicheskom iskusstve Stalinskoi epokhi” in Sovetskaia sotsial’naia politika 1920s-1930s: ideologiia i povsednevnost’, eds. Elena Iarskaia-Smirnova and Pavel Romanov (Moscow: Varient, 2007)

1990 "Workers' Organizations in Russia Before the First World War," in Marcel von der Linden and Jurgen Rogahn,eds., Formation of Labour Movements 1870-1914: An International Perspective (Leiden: E.M. Brill)

1991 "Voluntary Associations in Gorbachev's Reform Program," in George Breslauer, ed. Will Gorbachev's Reforms Succeed? (Berkeley, 1990); reprinted in Alexander Dallin and Gail Lapidus, eds., The Soviet System in Crisis: A Reader of Western and Soviet Views (Boulder, San Francisco, Oxford: Westview Press)

1980 "The Uses of Theory, Concepts and Comparison in Historical Sociology," Comparative Studies in Society and History, vol. 22, no. 2 (April)