Communist time management

Communist Time Management, a model in the making

The discussion at the Festival of social sciences Allez Savoir 2022 (September 24th, Marseille) was held in French. In the video subtitles in English and in other languages could be switched on.



  • Alexander Bikbov, sociologist, associate fellow at CERCEC (EHESS/CNRS)
  • Alexandra Koulaeva, historian, independent researcher
  • Isabelle Thireau, sociologist, research director at CCJ (CNRS)

The management of collective time, the base of socialist planning, follows a historical transformation going from a meticulous regulation of workers’ gestures in the 1920s to leisure activities organized in the 1960s according to scientific studies. Exported to the Eastern bloc, from Poland to China, the Soviet model provokes a keen interest among French and European state managers, while the ‘bourgeois’ models of forecasting are adapted in the USSR. In this way, the state interest to control time goes beyond the well-drawn border between the political regimes of the East and the West.
The discussion introduces into transformations of the governmental relationship to productive and spare time which mark different periods of the communist project, having a constant echo and striking similarities in France and internationally. A closer look at the original adaptation of Taylorism in the USSR and at controversial biographies of its bearers, as well as at the stateization of leisure time, offer a new view of historical discrepancies between socialism and capitalism.

“La gestion communiste du temps, modèle en devenir”, table ronde au Festival des sciences sociales Allez Savoir 2022, Marseille