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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the sphere of social life outside production that includes as much the satisfaction of people’s requirements in food, clothing, housing, medical care, and the maintenance of health as the acquisition of spiritual values and culture, human relations, leisure, and entertainment. In the broadest sense life-style is the structure of everyday life.

Life-style has an enormous influence on other spheres of social life, primarily on work, morale, and behavior.

Life-styles may be public, urban, rural, family, and individual. The structure of a life-style may be considered from the point of view of the relationship between the material and the spiritual aspects of life; the social and individual aspects; of pastimes and activities (satisfaction of physiological needs, house maintenance, leisure); and types of social grouping and intercourse (family, neighborhood, peer associations, youth groups, and so on). Under the influence of social as well as geographic conditions, different peoples develop complexes of techniques, customs, and rituals connected with the satisfaction of needs. Moreover, in the conditions of an antagonistic society, different classes and social groups and urban and rural residents acquire different lifestyles which express the social contradictions characteristic of the particular society.

The historical development of society brings about changes in the very elements as well as the structure of the life-style. These changes are ultimately based on the development of the productive forces and changes in the mode of production. The significance of a life-style changes with the process of urbanization and the increase of free time. The expansion of the network of everyday service enterprises aimed at mass needs and mass services (in the sphere of the material as well as spiritual consumption) affect the family and individual modes of life.

While life-styles are being internationalized, they retain specific national and social properties among different peoples and social groups.

In the socialist states industrialization, cooperation of agriculture, and the growth of the education and culture of the population bring about radical changes in the life-style. Technology is raising the general level of material and cultural consumption. In conditions of socialism public forms of satisfying people’s needs are becoming more and more important: free education and medical services and a wide network of universally accessible libraries, clubs, and rest homes. The surviving differences between the life-styles of the intelligentsia and manual workers and between urban and rural life-styles are being gradually overcome.

The processes that the mode of life is undergoing lead to standardization of some of its elements. However, this does not mean a leveling of people’s needs and tastes, although it gives rise to a similar style of living among members of certain occupational and social groups.

The plans for the development of the national economy in the USSR and in the other socialist countries provide for eliminating any lag in the mode of life behind present-day requirements. There is a continuous rise in state appropriations for housing construction, the improvement of cities and villages, and the expansion of the network of hospitals, children’s institutions, libraries, clubs, rest homes, and sanatoriums. A great development of the service sphere and its further technological growth is envisaged.


Sinitsyn, V. G. Byt epokhi stroitel’stva kommuniza, 2nd ed. Cheliabinsk, 1963.
Semenov, V. S. Sfera obsluzhivaniia i ee rabotniki. Moscow, 1966.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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(Indeed, Senator Dole has also proposed to curtail sharply the use of life-style audits.) The end result of this misbegotten proposal could well be a more intrusive IRS, a decrease in tax revenues, and a less efficient tax system