Anthropology Postsocialism
by
Gareth Euan Hamilton
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 November 2017
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199766567-0178

Introduction

Trying to give a simple definition of postsocialism is not simple, which is not merely academic poise—in the texts that are suggested here it is a common theme. As David A. Kideckel notes in The Unmaking of an East-Central European Working Class (Kideckel 2002, cited under Ownership and Production), it “is an amorphous concept that defines societies by something they are not. Instead of what they are.” However, there are common themes, and considering the similarities will enable readers to gain a useful overview. Unifying all the texts in this bibliography is the general subject matter of focusing on societies in which “state socialism” or “communism” (where the ownership of the means of production was in the hands of the state on behalf of the people) was formerly practiced as the governing system of the states in which they are located. Rather than focusing on grand narratives, scholars in the anthropological tradition study how this affects people living in those societies and, conversely, how people shape their societies. As a common factor, during the postsocialist period—since such events as the fall of the Berlin Wall or the ending of the Soviet Union, which have entered common consciousness—there has been a general movement toward a market society. This is accompanied by other related changes involved in moving toward a capitalist system, such as new or reconstituted rights to property, or ways in which people operate within this new market economy. Whereas it might appear natural to some from outside the region that these changes would bring joy at new freedoms and opportunities, especially given media images of happy people at the time when these changes began, the picture uncovered by anthropologists is much more ambivalent at best, and hostile at worst. While change has been embraced, there has also been resistance, or nostalgia for certain aspects of the socialist/communist era and the certainties it exhibited, in comparison to the more biting economic and social inequalities that the postsocialist era could bring, alongside any political freedom and democracy. Society itself has changed, with the removal of the social control exercised by the authorities allowing “civil society” institutions to be (re)established. However, in a cautionary note, it will be seen how this has been partly due to efforts by Western-based entities that have desired to strengthen democracy but ignored already existing local structures. This goes alongside the imposition of neoliberal economic structures also seen as necessary to completely reform the economies concerned. Indeed, the imposition of ideas from outside and ignoring of local ideas will be seen to have been raised within postsocialist anthropology itself. In general, however, despite these apparent changes, there have been notable continuities between the two periods, with, for example, the informal economic practices of the former being continued into the new, which anthropologists have noted from the very outset of the period.

Overview of Resources

The breadth of reading available to scholars who wish to gain an overview of postsocialist anthropology is not small. This reflects the wide areas of interest of those writing about the topics within this wide subdiscipline. There are some particularly worthwhile books (especially edited volumes by multiple contributors) that are worth pursuing.

Books

There are a number of books that have been very influential within postsocialist anthropology. For example, Verdery 1996, a collection of previous writings, is worth reading for a good insight into postsocialist studies and the issues involved, already identified at the time Verdery was writing. Humphrey 2002, a collection of the author’s works on the Soviet Union, is also worth reading for the same reasons. Berdahl 1999 (cited under Memory and the Past), an ethnography reminiscent of the classical “village study” once prevalent within anthropology in general, is worthwhile reading given its particularly interesting focus on the “inner-German border” at the time of reunification, and also for its demonstration of how the subdiscipline addresses many issues that have occupied anthropologists more generally over time. This also applies to the author’s posthumously edited collection of works (Berdahl 2010, cited under Consumption Practices). The varied and accessible collection of experiences and ethnographic fiction in postsocialist Bulgaria published in Ghodsee 2011 may also provide those new to the subject a gentle but entertaining introduction of the issues involved. A number of themed (but still broad enough to be worth perusing, wherever one’s more precise interests lie) edited volumes have been published that are worth reading, such as Hann 1993; Burawoy and Verdery 1999; Berdahl, et al. 2000; Hann 2002; Svašek 2006; or West and Raman 2008. Any of these provide an interesting range of texts on postsocialist anthropology, and their introductions are particularly useful as introductions to the topic of postsocialist anthropology, and as sources of references for further study. With some examples quoted here, the publication series on postsocialism sponsored by the Max-Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, Germany (Halle Studies in the Anthropology of Eurasia), is worth examining for its texts on postsocialist topics. For a very general introduction, with a European focus, the chapters in Kockel, et al. 2012 may also be a good starting point, especially the chapter by Buchowski.

  • Berdahl, Daphne, Matti Bunzl, and Martha Lampland, eds. 2000. Altering states: Ethnographies of transition in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press.

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    An informative collection of well-written chapters with a geographic range of Germany to Siberia via Armenia, and a thematic range covering important topics raised by the “transition” to capitalism, including identity, heritage, and gender, among others.

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    • Burawoy, Michael, and Katherine Verdery. 1999. Uncertain transition: Ethnographies of change in the postsocialist world. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

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      Edited book with contributions from a broad range of key authors on postsocialism and a broad range of topics, based on data gained early after the end of state socialism.

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      • Ghodsee, Kristen. 2011. Lost in transition: Ethnographies of everyday life after communism. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

        DOI: 10.1215/9780822394617Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

        A collection of ethnographic experiences from Ghodsee’s time in postsocialist Bulgaria. Interspersed with some ethnographic fiction, this book serves as a quite basic yet worthwhile introduction to postsocialist anthropology, especially for undergraduates wishing to find a particularly accessible text. It will also be worthwhile for those interested in Bulgaria in particular.

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        • Halle Studies in the Anthropology of Eurasia. 2003–. Berlin: LIT Verlag.

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          Book series on postsocialist topics, generally by members of the Max-Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, and with a geographical range of Eastern Europe and Central Asia and topics such as religion and economy, reflecting the research interests of people within the institute. Often written by scholars from the regions concerned.

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          • Hann, C. M., ed. 1993. Socialism: Ideals, ideologies and local practice. London and New York: Routledge.

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            Edited book published shortly after the ending of socialist states in Europe, but written during these changes, with contributions on socialism and its use in analyses in anthropology, for example, and the move away from socialism. It covers a broad geographic area, including not only Europe but also Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and China.

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            • Hann, C. M., ed. 2002. Postsocialism: Ideals, ideologies and practices in Eurasia. New York: Routledge.

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              A very rich and key collection of contributions by some of the top names in postsocialist anthropology, covering a broad range of key topics within the subdiscipline. The introduction, with its subsections by Hann, Humphrey, and Verdery, is particularly valuable for those seeking to gain an initial understanding of the issues involved.

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              • Humphrey, Caroline. 2002. The unmaking of soviet life: Everyday economies after socialism. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Press.

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                Collection of key texts. Includes the influential postsocialist anthropologist Humphrey’s publications on postsocialism in the Soviet Union (and Mongolia), with a predominately economic focus on corruption, informality, consumption, and trust, among other topics.

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                • Kockel, Ullrich, Máiread Nic Craith, and Jonas Frykman, eds. 2012. A companion to the anthropology of Europe. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

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                  An encyclopedic-style volume on the anthropology of Europe more broadly, but with useful overview chapters on postsocialism by Buchowski (chapter 5), the Eurasian perspective by Hann (chapter 6), and on postsocialist consumption and identity with reference to the Balkans by Horvat (chapter 9).

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                  • Kürti, László, and Peter Skalník, eds. 2009. Postsocialist Europe: Anthropological perspectives from home. New York: Berghahn.

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                    Published in the European Association of Social Anthropologists book series, this very rich volume deliberately features chapters solely by contributors from the postsocialist states. While the individual chapters are of high quality in themselves, the introduction problematizes the question of how local anthropologists are viewed by outsiders (thus thematizing and mirroring questions of the Western imposition of ideas within postsocialist “transitions” themselves).

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                    • Svašek, Maruška, ed. 2006. Postsocialism: Politics and emotions in Central and Eastern Europe. New York: Berghahn.

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                      A broad-ranging volume on the various emotional responses to the political changes in postsocialist states, including those that show unhappiness.

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                      • Verdery, Katherine. 1996. What was socialism, and what comes next? Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                        A collection of chapters, including some of Verdery’s earlier work. The book covers various topics covered in this bibliography in general, including civil society, nationalism, and gender.

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                        • West, Harry G., and Parvathi Raman, eds. 2008. Enduring socialism: Explorations of revolution and transformation, restoration and continuation. New York: Berghahn.

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                          Edited volume of contributions that also moves outside the European/Central Asian area by including chapters on Nicaragua, Tanzania, Mozambique, Vietnam, and China, as well as Slovakia and Kazakhstan. Shows how socialism has not been totally rejected in everyday practice, even as moves toward capitalism are made.

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                          Journals

                          A number of journals are worth consulting for their content relevant to postsocialist anthropology. Some are particularly focused on the region (e.g., Anthropology of East Europe Review) or have been welcoming to scholars publishing their research on the topic. However, anthropologists working on postsocialism have not limited their works to particular journals, and articles appear in journals of varying levels of renown and reputation based in various countries. It may also be worthwhile to look in area studies journals.

                          Definitions

                          In the Introduction, it was intimated that finding definitions is complex, that “postsocialism” and its analytical conceptual utility has been something anthropologists have questioned. In Hann, et al. 2002, Humphrey asks whether it “still made sense,” while Verdery offers suggestions on how it might develop (taken further by Chari and Verdery 2009). In the same edited volume, Kideckel 2002 (cited under Ownership and Production) calls the concept “amorphous.” Thirteen years later, in Kideckel 2014, this author could still find reason to question its ongoing usage, preferring the term “post-socialism” (with hyphen) to, among other things, highlight differences in experience in different places, as well as the domination of Western models in former “socialist” economies. These approaches are similar to those Verdery mentioned earlier (in Hann, et al. 2002 and Chari and Verdery 2009), suggesting that much could be gained from postcolonial approaches. Owczarzak 2009 also provides a good overview of such an approach with reference to gender and sexuality in Eastern Europe. As mentioned in the Introduction, despite differences between experiences in different states, there are similarities. There is the notion of the movement away from such socialist/communist governing systems, on which the clear and accessible introduction to socialism in Hann 2002, viewed from an anthropological perspective, is worthwhile for the beginner. Chapter 7 of Hann and Hart 2011 provides another accessible example, and focuses on postsocialism, too. Also useful is Verdery 1991, although this is a noticeably earlier text, in which Verdery also anticipates the issues that would arise in the postsocialist period, or rather the “transition” (see also chapter 1 of Verdery 1996, cited under Books). More broadly, anthropologists have rejected notions of a simple “transition,” demonstrated ethnographically by almost any of the texts shown here. Berdahl 2000 provides an accessible and readable rejection of “transitological” approaches employed in other disciplines. To return to the notion of geography and amorphousness, the bounds of the postsocialist world might seem vast and lacking definition. Hann 2003 suggests “Eurasia” as a valid field of study, with historical and cultural factors that link areas west of Vienna with those east of Vladivostok. However, when does the study of postsocialism broach upon other subdisciplines, such as Central Asian anthropology or area studies? And as Hann 2003 notes, what of general European anthropology? Both Hann 1993 and West and Raman 2008 (cited under Books) keep a broad view in the geographical focus of their contributions, showing socialism/postsocialism as more than an Eurasian phenomenon.

                          • Berdahl, Daphne. 2000. Introduction: An anthropology of postsocialism. In Altering states: Ethnographies of transition in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Edited by Daphne Berdahl, Matti Bunzl, and Martha Lampland, 1–13. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press.

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                            Although this chapter introduces the book, the section on postsocialist anthropology, with its rejection of “transitiological” ideas, is worth reading for its comparison to approaches in other discipline.

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                            • Chari, Sharad, and Katherine Verdery. 2009. Thinking between the posts: Postcolonialism, postsocialism, and ethnography after the Cold War. Comparative Studies in Society and History 51.1: 6–34.

                              DOI: 10.1017/S0010417509000024Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                              A double-length expanded version of Verdery’s section in Hann 2002 (cited under Books), this text provides an elaborated version of the original argument that postsocialism and postcolonialism should be considered in close relation.

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                              • Hann, Chris. 2002. Political ideologies: Socialism and its discontents. In Exotic no more: Anthropology on the front lines. Edited by Jeremy MacClancy, 86–98. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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                                A valuable and concise introduction for beginners who wish to gain an overview of socialism and its ideology, socialist societies (not only in Europe, but also elsewhere), their effects on those who lived within them, and those persons’ reactions to this form of government.

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                                • Hann, Chris. 2003. The anthropology of Eurasia in Eurasia. Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology Working Papers 57. Halle, Germany: Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology.

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                                  Paper in which Hann argues for Eurasia as a research field for anthropologists more broadly, due to the links between cultures and historical, political, and cultural similarities within the area—and also that anthropology is inherently a comparative discipline. His comments on local research practices such as folkloristics may also be of interest.

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                                  • Hann, Chris, and Keith Hart. 2011. Economic anthropology: History, ethnography and critique. Cambridge, UK: Polity.

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                                    Chapter 7 of this accessible book on economic anthropology is highly recommended for beginners to the theme (and economic anthropology); it provides a simple introduction to socialism and postsocialism, related closely to that subdiscipline in particular.

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                                    • Hann, Chris, Caroline Humphrey, and Katherine Verdery. 2002. Introduction: Postsocialism as a topic of anthropological investigation. In Postsocialism: Ideals, ideologies and practices in Eurasia. Edited by C. M. Hann, 1–28. New York: Routledge.

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                                      These three authors each have their own section in this introductory chapter to this influential volume. Hann provides a worthwhile overview of what postsocialist anthropologists had been concentrating on (a wide range) at the point of writing, Humphrey questions the usefulness of the term “postsocialism” itself, and Verdery points to suggestions of how postsocialist studies might develop in the future. The introduction looks at historical developments, and at how postcolonialism might be useful for anthropologists analytically and give voice to local scholars.

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                                      • Kideckel, David. 2014. Postsocialism as uncertainty, uncertainty about postsocialism. In Does East go West?: Anthropological pathways through postsocialism. Edited by Christian Giordano, François Ruegg, and Andrea Boscoboinik, 15–26. Zürich, Switzerland: LIT Verlag.

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                                        Kideckel questions the value of the term “postsocialism,” suggesting “post-socialism” as an alternative that highlights the hybridity of the concept, and states that anthropologists need to focus on the local variety of differing socialist experiences throughout the postsocialist sphere, and also recognize the dominance of Western ideas.

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                                        • Owczarzak, Jill. 2009. Introduction: Postcolonial studies and postsocialism in Eastern Europe. In Special issue: The East speaks back: Gender and sexuality in postsocialist Europe. Edited by Agnieszka Kościańska and Jill Owczarzak. Focaal 53:3–19.

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                                          Introductory article to a special edition of the journal Focaal. Owczarzak provides a solid overview of how postcolonial theory is useful for considering the postsocialist experience. The article and those it accompanies are useful also for those interested in gender and sexuality in postsocialism.

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                                          • Verdery, Katherine. 1991. Theorizing socialism: A prologue to the “transition.” American Ethnologist 18.1: 419–439.

                                            DOI: 10.1525/ae.1991.18.3.02a00010Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                            A highly recommended text that describes the functioning of the socialist state but notes the issues inherent within its organization that helped bring such states toward their end. Interestingly, in the final part, Verdery anticipates changes that would come to postsocialist societies, such as the movement toward civil society, ethnic and nationalist conflict, decentralization, and economic problems, as well as issues in governance and politics.

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                                            Reflexivity and Power Relations

                                            As noted above, Katherine Verdery (in Hann, et al. 2002, cited under Definitions) has suggested that local scholars’ voices should be heard in anthropological writing, linked to the spirit of domination of Western analytic models, somewhat ironically similar to the postsocialist states themselves and the imposition of Western economic and social ideas that have been a key part of life since the end of state socialism. While many of the texts quoted here criticize notions of “transition” or the imposition of Western ideas such as neoliberalism on postsocialist states, many of the writers cited are indeed not from these areas. While social anthropology may once have favored the idea of people researching within regions they are not native to, anthropologists from these areas do clearly exist, and an anthropological tradition, often in the form of “ethnology,” has a long heritage. Kürti and Skalník 2009 (cited under Books) problematizes this directly and demonstrates that native anthropologists working “at home” can produce excellent ethnography. It would be excessive, however, to describe this as a conflict, even if the national traditions of postsocialist states have been criticized and the lack of credence given to local scholars has likewise been problematized, as in the dialogue between Buchowski 2005 and Hann 2005. Hann 2014 is useful in this context, as it discusses the questions of imposing foreign economic models (such as New Institutional Economics) onto analyses of postsocialist states while also adopting those used by local scholars. It also deals with the issue of creating the subjects of such studies as of postsocialist “Others” considers the notion of otherness (see also Hann’s section in Hann, et al. 2002, cited under Definitions, on the latter point). In any case, anthropologists from outside the postsocialist area have indeed been aware of the issues of working within these areas, and of the issues involved in terms of power relations between informants and researchers, and they have considered the research process in a reflexive way (De Soto and Dudwick 2000).

                                            • Buchowski, Michał. 2005. Hierarchies of knowledge in Central-Eastern European anthropology. Anthropology of East Europe Review 22.2: 5–14.

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                                              A somewhat provocative and polemic article that asks important questions on the role of both local and non-native scholars working in postsocialist studies, and the attention paid to the former within the subdiscipline, in favor of the latter.

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                                              • De Soto, Hermine G., and Nora Dudwick, eds. 2000. Fieldwork dilemmas: Anthropologists in postsocialist states. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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                                                A valuable collection of chapters reflecting on the issues that anthropologists who are principally from the “West” have encountered as “outsiders” when conducting fieldwork in postsocialist states—especially given the transition and Cold War narratives prevalent over time in their places of origin and socialist continuities. (Chapter 9 also appears as chapter 5 of Berdahl 2010, cited under Consumption Practices.)

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                                                • Hann, Chris. 2005. Correspondence: Reply to Michał Buchowski. Anthropology of East Europe Review 23.1: 194–197.

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                                                  A reply to Buchowski 2005 that attempts to answer some of Buchowski’s accusations. Whereas it seems at times somewhat personal, Hann’s answer is worthwhile reading for its defense of Western practice within the subdiscipline. Buchowski replies within the same issue (pp. 198–200), with some bitterness, but this variety of academic discussion is demonstrative of wider issues within the academy, and within postsocialist society.

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                                                  • Hann, Chris. 2014. Beyond cold war, beyond otherness: Some implications of socialism and postsocialism for anthropology. In Does East go West?: Anthropological pathways through postsocialism. Edited by Christian Giordano, François Ruegg, and Andrea Boscoboinik, 35–56. Zürich, Switzerland: LIT Verlag.

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                                                    Much of this text is a summarizing of and reply to the ideas of a 2011 article by the German anthropologist Tatjana Thelen in the journal Critique of Anthropology on how postsocialism has not produced valid theory for anthropology. Interesting in itself for that, the text also allows Hann to reflect on his own fieldwork experiences, questions of difference between “East” and “West” (adopting theoretical standpoints from both), and new ways forward for anthropological methodology.

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                                                    Economy

                                                    It was not only the political systems of postsocialist economies that changed after the ending of state socialism/communism, for as their economies and political systems were inextricably linked, one could barely change without the other. The economies of state socialist/communist countries had features that were noticeably different from the generally free-market economies of Western states. The move away from these centrally planned, command-style systems is one the most marked aspects of the postsocialist period. While other disciplines, such as economics and history, have often viewed these at macroeconomic or macrosocial levels, anthropologists approach them at the level of how they have affected both individuals and the societies they live in, and how these have had an impact on culture in the postsocialist states. Of course, it is impossible to ignore these broader ideas, but how they interact with “on the ground” experience reveals many examples of how these narratives of change are challenged.

                                                    Economic Change and Continuity

                                                    The movement to market capitalism, coinciding broadly with a general movement to neoliberalism throughout the wider world, brought deep structural changes to postsocialist economies and their previous command-based forms. Firstly, it was necessary for people, even at the individual level, to engage with the market, even if they had some experience with this before then. Pine 2002 shows how Highland Poles were adept in using foreign currencies and trading in goods for decades before the end of communism, and how they continued doing so. Kaneff 2002, however, shows that even those who had never been involved in trading could come to do so through postsocialist necessity, with ambivalent feelings of shame or pride. Thus, markets were bound in social relations and personal feelings, despite “free market” state policy. For example, in eastern Germany, as Berdahl 2005 demonstrates, many people felt left behind by economic changes, not being fully able to take part in the promised bounty reunification would bring (see also Fehérváry 2002, cited under Consumption Practices). Even among factory workers, moves toward the pursuit of profit were often contested, as Müller 2007 shows. Money itself, as Verdery 1995 shows via Romanian Ponzi schemes, could take on varying moral positions in sophisticated ways (under circumstances perhaps questionable or seemingly naive to Western eyes). In this regard, see also chapter 7 of Verdery 1996 (cited under Books). Market activity is not always “formal,” and the informal economy and practices within it continued into the postsocialist period. Chapter 4 of Berdahl 1999 (cited under Memory and the Past) shows how, in eastern Germany, personal connections were required to gain access to scarce goods in the command economy. Such activity has been broadly theorized by Ledeneva 1998 as an “economy of favors,” providing a historical overview of these within Russia, with personal relations being used in ways that might seem corrupt to outside eyes. Makovicky 2008 shows how personal networks feature in market activity, with an example of Slovak rural lace makers who use their connections to sell products without entering into direct morally questionable market relations with buyers. For urban people promoting commercial activity, Hamilton 2012 shows how the style of former sociality via connections, reminiscent of the sharing of scarce goods in the GDR period, could be used by the precarious in East Germany to maintain their means of employment and create sociality. Yet, for some, such as the homeless in Hungary, detailed by Nagy 2009, the situation is much worse, being, as she notes, “locked in” to destitution by postsocialist poverty and the ending of full employment.

                                                    • Berdahl, Daphne. 2005. The spirit of capitalism and the boundaries of citizenship in post-Wall Germany. Comparative Studies in Society and History 47.2: 235–251.

                                                      DOI: 10.1017/S0010417505000125Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                      Berdahl shows how eastern Germans could feel left behind or even like “third-class citizens” in light of the economic changes occurring in the former GDR after reunification. A rich article also useful for those interested in consumption. (Also available as chapter 2 of Berdahl 2010, cited under Consumption Practices.)

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                                                      • Hamilton, Gareth E. 2012. Plural gifting of singular importance: Mass-gifts and sociality among precarious product promoters in eastern Germany. Social Anthropology 20.2: 145–160.

                                                        DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8676.2012.00199.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                        Hamilton demonstrates how informal networks from the socialist German Democratic Republic era became part of the capitalist work of selling goods to consumers in precarious situations.

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                                                        • Kaneff, Deema. 2002. The shame and pride of market activity: Morality, identity and trading in post-socialist rural Bulgaria. In Markets and moralities: Ethnographies of post-socialism. Edited by Ruth Mandel and Caroline Humphrey, 33–51. Oxford: Berg.

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                                                          An engaging chapter that shows how low-level market activity engaged in by village women engenders mixed feelings depending on their previous status, personal history and former involvement with state-connected work.

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                                                          • Ledeneva, Alana V. 1998. Russia’s Economy of Favours: Blat, Networking and Informal Exchange. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                            In an excellent book, Ledeneva shows how Russians use personal relations in an “economy of favors” in order to gain access to scarce resources, and also explores the history of this institution of Russian culture’s history before, during, and after the Soviet period. Rich and varied use of various sources make for an engaging read.

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                                                            • Makovicky, Nicolette. 2008. The object of morality: Rethinking informal networks in Central Europe. In Enduring socialism: Explorations of revolution and transformation, restoration and continuation. Edited by Harry G. West and Parvathi Raman, 103–124. New York: Berghahn.

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                                                              Makovicky shows how informal networks allow the moral sensibilities of lace makers to be maintained as they sell their homemade wares without having direct relations to customers.

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                                                              • Müller, Birgit. 2007. Disenchantment with Western economics: East Germans and Western capitalism. New York: Berghahn.

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                                                                A translation from the German, this text shows how the move from a planned economy affected individuals in the workplace in the former German Democratic Republic as it joined the capitalist Federal Republic. Its strength, in particular, lies with its historical overview of the socialist economy and how this relates to changes after reunification. Originally published in 2002 by Campus Verlag as Die Entzauberung der Marktwirtschaft: Ethnologische Erkundungen in ostdeutschen Betrieben.

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                                                                • Nagy, Terézia. 2009. Being locked out and locked in: The culture of homelessness in Hungary. In Postsocialist Europe: Anthropological perspectives from home. Edited by László Kürti and Peter Skalník, 206–226. New York: Berghahn.

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                                                                  A book chapter that details the situation of the poor in state-socialist Hungary, before moving on to describe the lifestyle, difficult conditions, and social exclusion faced by the homeless in the postsocialist period.

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                                                                  • Pine, Frances. 2002. Dealing with money: Złotys, dollars and other currencies in the Polish Highlands. In Markets and moralities: Ethnographies of post-socialism. Edited by Ruth Mandel and Caroline Humphrey, 75–99. Oxford: Berg.

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                                                                    Pine’s example of Górale Highlanders in Poland shows the adeptness at dealing with foreign currency during the socialist period, and the changes that occurred in their relationship to trading and money in the poverty of the postsocialist era.

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                                                                    • Verdery, Katherine. 1995. “Caritas” and the reconceptualization of money in Romania. Anthropology Today 11.1: 3–7.

                                                                      DOI: 10.2307/2783317Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                      Verdery provides a lucid account of the morality of money earned in one of the prime examples of Ponzi/pyramid schemes present in 1990s postsocialist Europe. She shows how people justified investing, and how messianic characters, nationalism, money, and its questionable investment became linked in a scheme that otherwise seemed “too good to be true.”

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                                                                      Ownership and Production

                                                                      Marx’s ideas, which (alongside Lenin’s) the state socialist governments held as their ideological program, were based on the principal that the ownership of the means of production determined the form of society, and this meant that state socialist governments were keen to nationalize industry in order to place the means of production in the hands of the people. Industry, farms, land, and also private residences were taken over by the state; in the postsocialist period, however, this process was reversed. Anthropologists were also present on the farms in the socialist/communist period—see Humphrey 1998, a reissue of the author’s original ethnography. In the new preface, Humphrey shows both the complexities and continuities of life and work for farm dwellers in these new times. Much has been written by anthropologists on the issue of property and the issue or ownership (“property relations”) to describe and analyze the postsocialist experience of restitution and “rightful” ownership of originally private property or the allocation of otherwise communal property. Broadly theorized by Verdery 1999 as “fuzzy property,” with imprecision left over from the socialist practices of seizure by the state, this has been a potentially complicated and frustrating process, as demonstrated by Hann 2006, referring to rural dwellers on former communal farms, the dominant form of state socialist agriculture. Buchowski 2009 shows the history, changes, and continuities in a certain Polish community, and how property relations affect social standing, while the movement by the state away from land ownership happens amid growing class inequality. Creed 1998, a monograph on a Bulgarian village, also shows the continuities from the state socialist period to the postsocialist period, with a historical overview of an agricultural population and the effects of state policy on it throughout time. Verdery 2003 likewise provides a historical, ethnographic view from Romania, with analysis of the Western idea of property itself. The ending of state socialism could have unexpected effects, as Aistara 2014 shows with reference to European Union seed regulations being introduced to Latvia, which meant popular (Soviet-era) food plant species became illegal to grow. Industry itself also faced privatization in the postsocialist period, often among apparent rationalization of apparently unprofitable business. Kideckel 2002 looks at Făgăraș in Romania and details how workers lose their status as reform occurs and unemployment grows, despite their protestations. Further, given the neoliberal ethos of the period since the end of state socialism, individual enterprise has been encouraged, with pressure to be more “business-like” and entrepreneurial, as Makovicky 2014 demonstrates. Yet this process brings increased precariousness compared to the guaranteed employment of state socialism.

                                                                      • Aistara, Guntra A. 2014. Actually existing tomatoes: Politics of memory, variety, and empire in Latvian struggles over seeds. Focaal 69:12–27.

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                                                                        Aistara shows how tomato production is affected by new European Union regulations that render beloved cultivars from the Soviet period illegal. Such issues bring to the fore questions of Latvia’s position within broader cultural and historic frameworks.

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                                                                        • Buchowski, Michał. 2009. Property relations, class, and labour in rural Poland. In Postsocialist Europe: Anthropological perspectives from home. Edited by László Kürti and Peter Skalník, 51–75. New York: Berghahn.

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                                                                          Buchowski traces the history of land ownership and state socialist policies in Poland (where generally more land was in private hands), along with the various ownership and social group issues that exist in the postsocialist period and affect identity, social position, and reputation.

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                                                                          • Creed, Gerald. 1998. Domesticating revolution: From socialist reform to ambivalent transition in a Bulgarian village. University Park: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press.

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                                                                            In a historical and ethnographic monograph, Creed details the effects of collectivization and then decollectivization of agricultural production in the Bulgarian village of Zamfirovo.

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                                                                            • Hann, C. M. 2006. “Not the horse we wanted!”: Postsocialism, neoliberalism and Eurasia. Münster, Germany: LIT Verlag.

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                                                                              Chapter 3 provides a masterful account of the circumstances surrounding the eponymous horse and related disappointment produced by privatization in rural Hungary, which Hann suggests are visible throughout postsocialist areas in general. The book provides valuable insights on other aspects covered in this bibliography, such as the “religion, ethnicity and citizenship” covered in the book’s second part. It also furthers Hann’s idea of thinking of Eurasia as a context for postsocialist studies.

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                                                                              • Humphrey, Caroline. 1998. Marx went away—But Karl stayed behind. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press.

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                                                                                An update of Humphrey’s Karl Marx Collective: Economy, Society and Religion in a Siberian Collective Farm (1983), an ethnography of farm workers. The new foreword is a particularly accessible short text detailing the lively changes taking place for the workers during decollectivization, and the continuities that exist, not least a bust of Marx remaining basically in situ.

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                                                                                • Kideckel, David A. 2002. The unmaking of an East-Central European working class. In Postsocialism: Ideals, ideologies and practices in Eurasia. Edited by C. M. Hann, 114–132. New York: Routledge.

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                                                                                  Based on fieldwork in Romania, Kideckel charts the plight of workers, including miners, who face unemployment and a loss of status in what he calls “neo-capitalism,” enforced upon the people of East-Central Europe.

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                                                                                  • Makovicky, Nicolette, ed. 2014. Neoliberalism, personhood and postsocialism: Enterprising selves in changing economies. Farnham, UK: Ashgate.

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                                                                                    A collection of contributions on how individuals and families are affected by official discourse that encourages people to become “enterprising” in increasingly neoliberal economies. With examples from Eastern Europe supplemented by Padrón Hernández’s contribution (chapter 6) on Cuba, the book offers perspectives on a detailed, ethnographic level of such effects.

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                                                                                    • Verdery, Katherine. 1999. Fuzzy property: Rights, power, and identity in Transylvania’s decollectivization. In Uncertain transition: Ethnographies of change in the postsocialist world. Edited by Michael Burawoy and Katherine Verdery, 53–81. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

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                                                                                      Part of a volume co-edited by Verdery herself; Verdery shows how “fuzzy property” (which became an influential idea) was created through the decollectivization of agricultural land in Romania, where even when original owners receive it back, they do not have complete control over its usage vis-à-vis the state.

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                                                                                      • Verdery, Katherine. 2003. The vanishing hectare: Property and value in postsocialist Transylvania. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Press.

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                                                                                        Ethnographic and historical presentation of the social-based nature of property relations in rural Romania, which also offers an interesting analysis of the concept of property itself as something of a Western vernacular idea.

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                                                                                        Consumption Practices

                                                                                        An important aspect of the move to a market economy in the postsocialist period was the increased opportunities for consumers in terms of significant increases in choices of food, drink, and consumer goods compared to the command economy of socialist states, in which goods were produced according to centrally planned quotas and distributed where need was identified by the government. Chapter 5 of Ghodsee 2011 (cited under Books) provides a simple and accessible overview of how this functioned, and of how this could lead to shortages of desired goods—not just luxuries, but also staple foods—in socialist times. Chapters 2 and 3 of Berdahl 2010 show both how citizens of eastern Germany dealt with the influx of new products and how people learned to be consumers within already existing complex webs of goods and advertising. This does not mean that socialist consumers had no ideas of Western goods, as Berdahl also shows. In the German case, this occurred via gifts sent by relatives or by deliberate television overspill carrying advertising to the GDR population. This also occurred in Hungary, as mentioned in Fehérváry 2002, when middle-class people came to regard American-style open-plan kitchens as a sign of their inclusion in a “normal” world, as did Estonian collective farmers who, as demonstrated by Rausing 2002, began to consume expensive Western products to partake in what they regarded as “normal” practices—those they thought they would have if it were not for the Soviet Union. However, as Berdahl 1999 (cited under Memory and the Past) shows in the book’s fourth chapter, Western goods could also bring alienation and disappointment as longed-for goods became available. Likewise, chapters 3 and 4 of Berdahl 2010 show how state socialist consumer goods could become the focus of “(n)ostalgia,” as in the case of the iconic Trabant car. Frustration at being unable to afford Western products was observed more broadly in Hungary (Fehérváry 2002), particularly with the slow pace at which the country was “catching up” with the West. Despite such disenchantment, Caldwell 2004 shows how, in Russia, capitalist icons of consumption (here, the capitalist icon McDonald’s and its food) could be adopted and adapted to fit into preexisting cultural schemes of consumption, despite initial ambivalence. However, as Ries 2009 shows, despite the adoption of the French fry, its parent the potato in traditional form lives on for many Russians and others in the postsocialist area as a sign not only of continuity, but also as a means of economic survival of highly significant symbolic importance. For those interested in food and identity in postsocialist countries, Caldwell 2009 is of particular interest.

                                                                                        • Berdahl, Daphne. 2010. On the social life of postsocialism: Memory, consumption, Germany. Edited by Matti Bünzl. Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press.

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                                                                                          A (most regrettably) posthumous collection of some of Berdahl’s most enlightening works, principally in eastern Germany. The second section and the first chapter of the third are most important for economic insights into postsocialism, especially consumption in chapters 2–4 and reactions to capitalism in chapter 6.

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                                                                                          • Caldwell, Melissa L. 2004. Domesticating the French fry: McDonald’s and consumerism in Moscow. Journal of Consumer Culture 4.1: 5–26.

                                                                                            DOI: 10.1177/1469540504040902Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                            Fascinating ethnographic case of how the icon of capitalist consumption that is McDonald’s became “наш/nash” (“ours”—an important concept in Russian culture) by, for example, creating trust in the brand and fitting into preexisting schemata of consumption—even being emulated in Russian home cooking.

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                                                                                            • Caldwell, Melissa L., ed. 2009. Food and everyday life in the postsocialist world. Bloomington: Univ. of Indiana Press.

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                                                                                              Rich ethnographic collection of cases showing how food becomes linked to identity, covering topics such as Lithuanian sausages, Hungarian paprika, and women’s alcoholism in Russia. The text also deals with how European standards affect consumption and perceptions of quality.

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                                                                                              • Fehérváry, Krisztina. 2002. American kitchens, luxury bathrooms, and the search for a “normal” life in post-socialist Hungary. Ethnos 67.3: 369–400.

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                                                                                                Revealing article that shows how the Hungarian middle classes construct ideas of their country and create their identity within Europe around their possession of a modern kitchen, based on ideas of Western “normality” that are not merely postsocialist but have their roots within the socialist period.

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                                                                                                • Rausing, Sigrid. 2002. Re-constructing the normal: Identity and consumption of Western goods in Estonia. In Markets and moralities: Ethnographies of post socialism. Edited by Ruth Mandel and Caroline Humphrey, 127–142. Oxford: Berg.

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                                                                                                  Book chapter that shows how former Estonian collective farm workers in the countryside consume expensive Scandinavian products rather than local Estonian goods to show their position in a framework of “normal” (i.e., non-Soviet) Western consumption, which symbolizes their desire to be regarded as European.

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                                                                                                  • Ries, Nancy. 2009. Potato ontology: Surviving postsocialism in Russia. Cultural Anthropology 24.2: 181–212.

                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1111/j.1548-1360.2009.01129.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                    Journal article that charts Russian connections to the potato since its introduction centuries ago, but interesting here for anthropologists in particular is the way the vegetable is used to individually provision households since the end of the Soviet Union as a means of economic survival, but which has deeper symbolic connotations from Russia’s past, which is still important in identity construction in changing times.

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                                                                                                    Civil Society

                                                                                                    In addition to taking economic production into state hands, it was a tendency of socialist states to wish to monopolize the institutions that private individuals within nonsocialist societies create autonomously to pursue joint interests or purposes. Institutions that would belong to this “civil society” in Western countries were tied to the state and espoused its ideology. Youth organizations required regular and loyal attendance and participation in the activities, rites, and rituals they entailed—lest such early dissidence might result in desired career paths being blocked (see Gallinat 2005, cited under Personhood). Yet seemingly innocuous clubs like those for sports or crafts were also linked to state-owned entities. One notable locus was the “house of culture,” often a place of agitation and propaganda alongside cultural activities and entertainment. These have continued into the postsocialist period, especially in rural areas, though they are no longer propaganda emitters but are instead organized by local associations of keen activists, as shown by Donahoe and Habeck 2011, and serve as examples of enduring institutions modified to current practices and circumstances. Leisure activities were also attached to state-owned socialist workplaces, where work in the “brigade” was likewise a politicized team effort. Buchowski 1996 provides a historic overview of state socialist societal organizations in Poland and points out that family ties could also provide the functions of civil society. Buchowski highlights the extremely strong presence of the Roman Catholic Church, which provides a reminder that there is, of course, variety in experience in such a broad range of societies. Yet, in general, as official institutions closed, others began to grow (or re-grow) in their place, whether organically or encouraged by those in the West. As shown by Hann and Dunn 1996, civil society is a concept applied outside postsocialist states, but as Mandel 2002 shows, it is also something that outside agencies (Western governments, for example) greatly encourage. These agencies believed that the reinvigoration of civil society was necessary for a successful transition to democracy, based on a Western model of what society should be like, and thus replace the centralizing tendencies of the socialist period. As Sampson 2002 shows, local traditional networks, such as kinship networks (indigenous civil society structures, so to speak), are replaced with “project society” in acts of “benevolent colonialism” through Western funding. Even when locals took up these roles, the position of those involved in this movement toward NGO creation could be ambiguous. While there could be positive, empowering effects for these people and society (Hemment 2007), these could be complex and contradictory, taking on roles and responsibilities from the state while being subject to its discourses (Phillips 2005). Creed 2011 takes on the utility of the term, however, using the example of mumming rituals in rural Bulgaria, where social action may take place outside the realm of those institutions normally identified as being part of civil society.

                                                                                                    • Buchowski, Michał. 1996. The shifting meanings of civil and civic society in Poland. In Civil society: Challenging Western models. Edited by Chris Hann and Elizabeth Dunn, 77–96. New York: Routledge.

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                                                                                                      This book chapter provides a valuable summary of the features of “civic” society in Communist Poland, both formal and informal, the role of the trade union Solidarity, and the lack of clarity at the turbulent time of writing regarding how civil society in Poland might develop.

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                                                                                                      • Creed, Gerald W. 2011. Masquerade and postsocialism: Ritual and cultural dispossession in Bulgaria. Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                        Using the example of mumming in Bulgaria, Creed shows how this set of rituals express village dwellers’ relationships not just to the current postsocialist state, but also on a longer-term basis. It has a valuable critique of civil society conceptualizations relevant in this topic. However, it raises broader questions on ritual’s role in postsocialist society, questions of gender, conceptions of sociality, and nationalism and ethnicity.

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                                                                                                        • Donahoe, Brian, and Joachim Otto Habeck, eds. 2011. Reconstructing the house of culture: Community, self, and the makings of culture in Russian and beyond. New York: Berghahn.

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                                                                                                          An edited volume of chapters that focus on the role of “houses of culture,” or institutions where cultural events (mixed with a dose of agitation-propaganda during the socialist period) are aimed at local communities. State-owned and funded during the socialist period, the chapters show their changing role and organizational style, principally in Siberia but also in Latvia and Central Asia.

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                                                                                                          • Hann, Chris, and Elizabeth Dunn, eds. 1996. Civil society: Challenging Western models. New York: Routledge.

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                                                                                                            Collection of chapters that do not just focus on postsocialist states, but also on Mormons in the United States and Islam in Turkey. Yet there are many case studies of postsocialist societies, and the introductory chapter by Hann provides an overview of the concept of civil society alongside introducing the book itself.

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                                                                                                            • Hemment, Julie. 2007. Empowering women in Russia: Activism, aid, and NGOs. Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                              Based on her study of Russian women’s NGOs, Hemment moves away from a simple critique of international actions to encourage civil society creation toward the pragmatic view that such organizations created in these movements can have empowering effects upon groups such as the women she studies.

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                                                                                                              • Mandel, Ruth. 2002. Seeding civil society. In Postsocialism: Ideals, ideologies and practices in Eurasia. Edited by C. M. Hann, 279–296. New York: Routledge.

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                                                                                                                Mandel describes how Western government aid has flowed into postsocialist countries (here, Central Asia and Kazakhstan in particular), yet how original notions of how civil society projects have changed over time to meet local models of organization, even if the original, Western-oriented persons adept in managing NGOs and Western ideas seem still in the ascendancy in parallel to state structures.

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                                                                                                                • Phillips, Sarah D. 2005. Civil society and healing: Theorizing women’s social activism in post-Soviet Ukraine. Ethnos 70.4: 489–514.

                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1080/00141840500419766Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                  From a medical anthropology viewpoint and based on fieldwork in Ukraine with women activists, Phillips shows how these women’s work can be empowering at a personal level, but also points out ambiguities such as their taking on responsibility from the state but still being controlled by its ideological discourses.

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                                                                                                                  • Sampson, Steven. 2002. Weak states, uncivil societies and thousands of NGOs: Western democracy export as benevolent colonialism in the Balkans. In The Balkans in focus: Cultural boundaries in Europe. Edited by Sanimir Resic and Barbara Törnquist-Plewa, 27–44. Lund, Sweden: Nordic Academic Press.

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                                                                                                                    Also available online. Sampson shows how local models of social organization in the Balkans (seen as problematic by outsiders, but which have allowed for social reproduction through various vicissitudes), is replaced by “project society”: creating new elites of people working on projects funded by money from the West in a system of “benevolent colonialism” in the image of Western civil society models.

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                                                                                                                    Ethnicity and Nationalism

                                                                                                                    The ending of the Soviet Union and state socialism is conventionally regarded as bringing about a resurgence of nationalism in the states concerned. Whereas the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact (a treaty with “friendship” in its official title) allies were formally linked in organizations such as the Pact itself and Comecon (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance), or competed in the Intervision Song Contest, as signs of harmony among nations, Verdery 1993 shows that this was not necessarily the case, as ethnic groups could be important in gaining access to scarce resources. Further, Verdery 1998 shows how these nationalist issues have become more broadly linked in postsocialist times, including to economic questions, and are easily exploited by postsocialist regimes. (See also Borneman 1997, cited under Memory and the Past.) Hann 1998 shows how long-term history can become involved, or reactivated, in ethnic conflict when property and religious sites are involved. The former Yugoslavia is one of the most noted examples of postsocialist ethnic conflict. In Bosnia, perhaps the most bloody of these, the aftermath has been charted by anthropologists such as Tone Bringa, whose ethnographic documentary Christie and Bringa 1993 is a harrowing counterpoint to her earlier work in Bosnia before the war. In terms of Bosnia, Hayden 2007 shows how Western notions of how people should live together can become imposed upon ethnic groups, using the image of the war-ruined and then rebuilt famous bridge of Mostar as an example of symbolism meaning more than real social relations. While no violence is involved, Kotnik 2007 shows how ethnic boundaries, linked to a desire to create difference in former Yugoslav republics and strengthen national identity, can be created and demarcated through such day-to-day occurrences as televised alpine sports in Slovenia. However, Creed 2011 shows how, elsewhere in the Balkans, the traditionally excluded minority of the Roma can become willingly involved in ethno-nationalist-enforcing rituals and the carnivalesque, such as mumming, despite their own quite negative portrayals.

                                                                                                                    • Christie, Debbie, and Tone Bringa, dirs. 1993. We are all neighbours. Disappearing World series. Granada Television.

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                                                                                                                      A Emmy award–winning ethnographic documentary from the UK television series Disappearing World. A particularly poignant portrayal by anthropologist Bringa of the results of ethnic conflict in a village where residents of different religions lived peacefully beside one another in friendship. May be available in university ethnographic video collections, or from the Royal Anthropological Institute. The sequel is worth pursuing, too, where the villagers return.

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                                                                                                                      • Creed, Gerald W. 2011. Masquerade and postsocialism: Ritual and cultural dispossession in Bulgaria. Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                        As part of a broader monograph on traditional mumming in Bulgaria, Creed shows how traditional practices survived the state socialist period and have been adapted to the postsocialist era. The volume covers questions not only on ethnicity and nationalism, but also on gender, sexuality, and civil society.

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                                                                                                                        • Hann, Chris. 1998. Postsocialist nationalism: Rediscovering the past in southeast Poland. Slavic Review 57.4: 840–863.

                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.2307/2501049Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                          Based on the case of Greek Catholic minority Ukrainian believers in southeastern Poland, and ownership of one building in particular, Hann shows how the more distant and more recent history became weaponized in the resulting dispute. He shows how this fueled nationalism and simultaneously became operationalized by those pursuing nationalistic aims, creating and entrenching division where in the socialist period it had been much less marked.

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                                                                                                                          • Hayden, Robert M. 2007. Moral vision and impaired insight: The imagining of other peoples’ communities in Bosnia. Current Anthropology 48.1: 105–131.

                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1086/508688Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                            This text should be read in conjunction with the comments from other anthropologists that accompany it to demonstrate its ideas are not mainstream, but Hayden offers a challenge to conventional wisdom from the West that Bosnians should be living together when he suggests that the evidence does not show this.

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                                                                                                                            • Kotnik, Vlado. 2007. Sport, landscape, and the national identity: Representations of an idealized vision of nationhood in Slovenian skiing telecasts. Journal of the Society for the Anthropology of Europe 7.2: 19–35.

                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1525/jsae.2007.7.2.19Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                              An engaging text that shows how both the sport of skiing and the national landscape are used by television broadcasters (as part of broader discourses of skiing representing national independence, for example) to solidify and enhance feelings of Slovenian nationhood in the postsocialist period after it left the SFR Yugoslavia.

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                                                                                                                              • Verdery, Katherine. 1993. Nationalism and national sentiment in post-socialist Romania. Slavic Review 52.2: 179–203.

                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.2307/2499919Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                Also available as chapter 4 of Verdery 1996 (cited under Books). Verdery shows how nationalism became important in the socialist state, despite the Western idea that nationalism is merely a postsocialist phenomenon.

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                                                                                                                                • Verdery, Katherine. 1998. Transnationalism, nationalism, citizenship and property: Eastern Europe since 1989. American Ethnologist 25.2: 291–306.

                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1525/ae.1998.25.2.291Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                  Given originally as part of the distinguished lecture series of the American Ethnological Society, this accessible text gives a rich overview of early nationalism in Eastern Europe, its effects on citizens (and those excluded, such as Russians in Latvia), and how these issues are closely linked to economic questions, such as access to property and land ownership.

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                                                                                                                                  Religion and Religious Practice

                                                                                                                                  Just as other aspects of civil society in state socialism were controlled, so were those institutions related to religion. However, belief itself was also discouraged under policies of “state atheism,” given the Marxist notion that religion was one of the ways in which false consciousness among the working classes could be created. In order to normalize their poor situation and prevent the revolutions’ key to creating a socialist or communist society, churches were generally highly restricted by state authorities. An interesting and worthwhile starting point to cover such developments is the introduction to Hann and the Civil Religion Group 2006, which sets the scene for the fate and then resurgence of religion during the socialist and postsocialist periods, respectively. Religion in the postsocialist period may have repressed, but this was not total, as chapter 3 (Where the World Ended. Re-Unification and Identity in the German Borderland. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999) shows for a region of the GDR with a long-term history of devout Roman Catholicism. In the late socialist period after perestroika, religion saw something of a rebound, as Wanner 2007 demonstrates for evangelical Christianity in Ukraine, whether from diaspora involvement or missionary work. Linkages to broader, global Christianity also became more marked. In the postsocialist period, traditional regional churches such as the Roman Catholic or Orthodox Church have had rebounding memberships. As Köllner 2012 shows, entrepreneurs can become attached to the revived Orthodox Church in Russia, even if not forming particularly strong bonds to congregations but rather to the priestly class and ceremony. The idea of “traditional” religion might also mean more distant and pagan examples, such as in Lithuania, as Strmiska 2012 demonstrates. This does point to the idea, expressed by Mathijs Pelkmans in Hann and the Civil Religion Group 2006, of a “religious market” of choice, which developed after the postsocialist period, with its religious freedom, began. As Henig 2014 shows, Bosnian Muslim dervishes became free to practice their form of worship after Yugoslav state repression with translocal connections was eased. Yet in Bulgaria, as Ghodsee 2010 shows, foreign, imported ideas of orthodoxy and practice might cause traditional, local practices to be questioned and cause unease among believers.

                                                                                                                                  • Ghodsee, Kristen. 2010. Muslim lives in Eastern Europe: Gender, ethnicity, and the transformation of Islam in postsocialist Bulgaria. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                    Also of interest to those studying gender in postsocialist states due to the resulting changes in gender roles, Ghodsee’s text shows how the revival of Muslim religious awareness after the ending of communism does not mean a simple return to non-orthodox historical practice, but rather an introduction of outside (Saudi-inspired and financed) conceptions of the religion.

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                                                                                                                                    • Hann, Chris, and the Civil Religion Group. 2006. The postsocialist religious question: Faith and power in Central Asia and East Central Europe. Münster, Germany: LIT Verlag.

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                                                                                                                                      A geographically wide-ranging volume with contributions on developments in religion within Central Asia (the first part) and East-Central Europe (the second), resulting from the work of the MPI in Halle. Chapter 1, by Hann, notes the great range the examples in the book present and offers a valuable summary of the history of (and of the study of) religion within the postsocialist area. It will also be of interest to scholars interested in civil society.

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                                                                                                                                      • Henig, David. 2014. Tracing creative moments: The emergence of translocal dervish cults in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Focaal 69:97–110.

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                                                                                                                                        Accessible journal article in which Henig shows how, free from the state control in place in Communist Yugoslavia, dervishes may now freely practice their religious ceremonies of worship. Taking into account broader historical and regional practice, Henig shows how dervishes establish new cult groups, aware of translocal notions of practice and being inventive when their own knowledge seems at first insufficient.

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                                                                                                                                        • Köllner, Tobias. 2012. Practising without belonging?: Entrepreneurship, morality, and religion in contemporary Russia. Berlin: LIT Verlag.

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                                                                                                                                          Part of the Halle Max-Planck book series, Köllner’s monograph shows how entrepreneurs in Russia become attached to Orthodox religion but not necessarily attached to congregations themselves. The book deals with questions of money for reconstruction and its sources, pilgrimage, and the spiritual (or practical, near-magical) benefits that religious practice brings.

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                                                                                                                                          • Strmiska, Michael F. 2012. Romuva looks east: Indian inspiration in Lithuanian paganism. In Religious diversity in post-Soviet society: Ethnographies of Catholic hegemony and the new pluralism in Lithuania. Edited by Milda Ališauskienė and Ingo W. Schröder, 125–150. Farnham, UK: Ashgate.

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                                                                                                                                            Strmiska shows how notions of Hinduism become entwined with Lithuanian/Baltic pagan religion partly due to Indo-European linkages, yet how various notions of the Other make this linkage more complex.

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                                                                                                                                            • Wanner, Christine. 2007. Communities of the converted: Ukrainians and global evangelism. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                              A rich historical and ethnographic account, principally of the evangelical Christian movement in Ukraine, a country with a strong religious tradition in spite of state atheism, and where religion is once again strengthening. The first section shows how such movements arose before and were maintained despite pressure during the secularizing Soviet period, while the second charts the growth within the diaspora and at home, via missionary work. The third section shows how Ukrainian evangelicalism is connected to global discourses of charismatic Christianity.

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                                                                                                                                              Personal Identity

                                                                                                                                              The new economic and political systems introduced by the adoption of capitalism and apparent eschewing of socialism/communism had a noticeable effect on the people of the societies and cultures in which such developments occurred. Brought up with heavy propaganda espousing collectivism and the suppression of individual interest, movements toward individualistic capitalism where people were no longer so heavily supported by the state but had to rely on their own effort and resources bred resentment for some and a longing for the certainties of the past in others. In this broader section, however, while this is covered, the reader will also view how the role of women and sexual minorities altered, how state and society affected people’s sense of self within society, and how those selves/persons have seen actions work on them through state economic and social policy.

                                                                                                                                              Memory and the Past

                                                                                                                                              The broad changes that occurred between the state socialist and postsocialist periods, despite continuities, were still significant. Movement from a time of relative security to a time where the market and its vagaries were introduced to societies (especially when adherence to the doctrine of “shock therapy” apparently required the reformation of underperforming economies) left some people looking back to more secure times with fondness that might otherwise not be expected. In Germany, this became a marked phenomenon called Ostalgie, clearly playing on the word Nostalgie (nostalgia), as highlighted in Berdahl 1999 in terms of, among other things, consumption. Of course, representing and remembering the past are not confined to postsocialist societies. Even in the socialist period, as Kaneff 2002 (cited under Economic Change and Continuity) shows in an ethnography of a “model village” in Bulgaria, history could be instrumentalized by the socialist authorities themselves by highlighting suitable aspects of this as “traditions,” and by so doing ensconce villagers firmly in socialist ideology. Yet in the postsocialist period, the importance of these traditions became replaced by earlier ideas. Even in a country that was keen to become independent of the Soviet Union, positive memories of the Soviet period might exist. In Lithuania these have class dimensions, as Klumbytė 2008 points out with reference to currently marginalized people who desire better present circumstances with better wages and social equality. In addition, Klumbytė also shows how the memorialization of the past can take on an almost “theme park” dimension. A more solemn example comes from Borneman 1997, which deals with questions of victimhood and judicial retribution for crimes (then legal) committed in the socialist period. Yet anthropologists have been concerned with the events of the past itself. Yurchak 2005 provides a fascinating historical ethnography of how and why the Soviet Union ended, focusing on its final generation, who, despite some surprise at its ending, were relatively prepared for it because of the practices of late Soviet life. Dzenovska and Arenas 2012 notes how the symbolism of the sociality at its ending—specifically of the “barricades” that were key as part of the (re)creation of a post-Soviet independent Latvian state—shows that the “revolution” itself, and memories of it, could be used by LGBT activists to foster calls for their rights to be recognized, recalling similar fights for political change in 1991. For anthropologists with experiences of socialist times, this has also been important in their analyses. In a reflexive manner, Skultans 1998 tells the story of a former refugee from Latvia who learns about her country’s experience under Soviet rule, while the author of Gallinat 2010 considers whether her own memories of growing up in the GDR are valid data, along with those of her informants. Added to the issue of memory is the paper trail of the secret police files left behind; Verdery 2014 presents an analysis of the Romanian case that shines anthropological light on not only the author’s file as a researcher before the regime’s end, but also on the nature of these bodies’ organizational styles, which can be interestingly compared with the image of the contentious nature of the notorious head of state in advertising shown by Georgescu’s chapter in Todorova and Gille 2010 on wider nostalgic issues.

                                                                                                                                              • Berdahl, Daphne. 1999. “(N)Ostalgie” for the present: Memory, longing, and East German things. Ethnos 64.2: 192–211.

                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1080/00141844.1999.9981598Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                Also available as chapter 3 of On the Social Life of Postsocialism (Berdahl 2010, cited under Consumption Practices). Berdahl demonstrates how nostalgia is almost “weaponized” by eastern Germans to show dissatisfaction with western German economic and cultural hegemony after reunification via consumption practices and leisure activities.

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                                                                                                                                                • Borneman, John. 1997. Settling accounts: Violence, justice and accountability. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                  Impressive work that deals with the question of how states in the postsocialist period deal with crimes committed in earlier, socialist regimes by dint of the nature of those states. Borneman gives a comparative overview of differences in legal systems over time, the plight of victims, and judicial reform (identifying different modes of dealing with the past in different countries).

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                                                                                                                                                  • Dzenovska, Dace, and Iván Arenas. 2012. Don’t fence me in: Barricade solidarity and political struggles in Mexico and Latvia. Comparative Studies in Society & History 54.3: 644–678.

                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1017/S0010417512000266Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                    Although offering a comparative element with a Mexican case, this article shows how the symbolism of the sociality of the “barricades,” which were key as part of the (re)creation of a post-Soviet independent Latvian state, can be used by LGBT activists to foster calls for their rights to be recognized, recalling similar fights for political change in 1991.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Gallinat, Anselma. 2010. Playing the native card: The anthropologist as informant in eastern Germany. In The ethnographic self as resource: Writing memory and experience into ethnography. Edited by Peter Collins and Anselma Gallinat, 25–44. New York: Berghahn.

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                                                                                                                                                      Based on two examples from her fieldwork in eastern Germany, Gallinat suggests that her own experiences and memories of growing up there are for creating context in writing and heightening her own understanding of others’ experiences.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Klumbytė, Neringa. 2008. Post-soviet publics and nostalgia for Soviet times. In Changing economies and changing identities in postsocialist Eastern Europe. Edited by Ingo W. Schröder and Asta Vonderau, 27–45. Berlin: LIT Verlag.

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                                                                                                                                                        Beginning with experiences of a European Capital of Culture project recreating Soviet experiences, the author moves on to analyze the memories of deprived villager informants and their longing for the social and economic equality of the Soviet period, rather than a complete return to its political system.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Skultans, Vieda. 1998. The testimony of lives: Narrative and memory in post-Soviet Latvia. New York: Routledge.

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                                                                                                                                                          A medical anthropologist (investigating memory damaging nervous illness) and former refugee from Latvia reflects on her own experiences of returning to the country and the difficult memories of the Soviet period, told through the personal narratives of informants collected throughout the country.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Todorova, Maria, and Zsuzsa Gille. 2010. Post-Communist nostalgia. New York and Oxford: Berghahn.

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                                                                                                                                                            Edited volume with anthropological contributions on the issue of nostalgic memory of former regimes in post-Communist states, with examples from across Europe, which also deals with mediated examples.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Verdery, Katherine. 2014. Secrets and truths: Ethnography in the archive of Romania’s secret police. Budapest: CEU Press.

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                                                                                                                                                              Ethnographic, anthropological analysis of secret police files, in which Verdery discovers her own files with some effort, deals with the status of the files after the end of the regime, and considers the organizational style of the Securitate.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Yurchak, Alexei. 2005. Everything was forever until it was no more: The last Soviet generation. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                A ethnographic monograph on the final Soviet generation during the Soviet period, arguing that members of this generation were somewhat prepared for the end of the USSR due to the circumstances existing at that point. The book focuses on the daily use of language and culture by the people themselves as an antidote to grand historical narratives otherwise to be heard used in society.

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                                                                                                                                                                Personhood

                                                                                                                                                                The effects on the individual of wider political systems and the changes brought about by the movement toward market economies is something that anthropologists have been able to study widely. Individuals’ impressions of these changes have not been constant, with hope for positive change following political change followed by disappointment, frustration, or anger due to factors such as poverty and corruption within society or political institutions, as shown in Svašek 2006. People have also been much freer to express such discontentment compared to the socialist period, when not only was freedom of expression limited, but governments of the era also made efforts to determine how people were expected to live (and work) in accordance with their stated political principles. The “socialist personality,” fostering a communal spirit and eschewing individualism, was something that was encouraged, even if this did not always function in practice as desired by the authorities, as Gallinat 2005 shows, for small acts of resistance toward the system could still take place. Yet pressure on people from governments did not disappear after the socialist period. Some of this has been explicit, including the encouraging of people to behave in entrepreneurial, enterprising ways to overcome economic issues. While people have clearly become adept at presenting themselves in ways necessary to do so, even if having to be trained, as Larson 2008 demonstrates, vestiges of such ideas do still remain. In conceptions of how people should behave to one another or present themselves, as analyzed by Hamilton 2014, the ideas of reticence and communal thinking are still visible. Some notions of how people have had to change in the postsocialist period have come via rules and regulations, for example through political change brought by the realignment of states within expanding supranational bodies such as the European Union and the regulations they introduce and enforce (Dunn 2005). Yet, alongside states, the re-expansion of civil society institutions (see Civil Society section) and the removal of restrictions on religious institutions provided a new role for churches (taken broadly) to provide moral compasses and to begin to impose moral standards on people, just as the state attempted to in socialist times, even if these fit into complex historical or traditional schemata (Zigon 2011).

                                                                                                                                                                • Dunn, Elizabeth C. 2005. Standards and person-making in Central Europe. In Global assemblages: Technology, politics, and ethics as anthropological problems. Edited by Aihwa Ong and Stephen J. Collier, 173–193. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

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                                                                                                                                                                  Part of an edited volume influential well beyond the studies of postsocialism, this chapter tells of the standards imposed by the European Union food hygiene and quality regime not only on meat, but also on those employed in the abattoirs and production plants. Highlighting the Western-centric nature of these standards, Dunn also demonstrates small acts of resistance, comparing these post-2004 workplaces to the socialist era equivalents.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Gallinat, Anselma. 2005. A ritual middle ground?: Personhood, ideology and resistance in East Germany. Social Anthropology 13.3: 291–305.

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                                                                                                                                                                    Based on analysis of the GDR Jugendweihe (“youth consecration”) initiation ceremony for adolescents and of people’s recollections of their experiences before and during it, Gallinat shows how people could subvert the official meanings stressing loyalty to the state (especially by developing a “socialist personality”). Rather, participants’ recollections focus on consumption practices or minor acts of linguistic resistance, for example.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Hamilton, Gareth E. 2014. Selling yet still social: Consociational personhood among the self-employed in eastern Germany. In Neoliberalism, personhood, and postsocialism: Enterprising selves in changing economies. Edited by Nicolette Makovicky, 17–35. Farnham, UK: Ashgate.

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                                                                                                                                                                      Based on fieldwork in training courses for the self-employed in eastern Germany, including interviews and media analyses, this text looks at how notions of the preferred tenets of personal presentation in the German Democratic Republic period are still held as important, even when being apparently individualistic by being self-employed, which was formerly shunned.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Larson, Jonathan L. 2008. Ambiguous transparency: Resumé fetishism in a Slovak workshop. Ethnos 73.2: 189–216.

                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1080/00141840802180363Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                        Larson shows how Slovaks learned, via teaching in his ethnographic examples, to produce curricula vitae in a so-called Western style quite different from the equivalent style (including the emphasis required) in socialist times, thus revealing the ideological work of the capitalist postsocialist period on the person.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Svašek, Maruška, ed. 2006. Postsocialism: Politics and emotions in Central and Eastern Europe. New York: Berghahn.

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                                                                                                                                                                          A broad-ranging volume on the various emotional responses to the political changes in postsocialist states. Covers many of the topics mentioned elsewhere in this bibliography, from property rights to morality to nostalgia.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Zigon, Jarrett, ed. 2011. Multiple moralities and religions in post-Soviet Russia. New York: Berghahn.

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                                                                                                                                                                            With topics such as complex moral responses to ethnic conflict in Chechnya (Raubiško, chapter 6); the role of the church in Russia today (Agadjanian, chapter 2); or moral codes, albeit reminiscent of the Soviet past, created by new religious movements (Panchenko, chapter 7); this collection of texts provides interesting examples of how morality (linked to religious ideas) developed in Russia after the postsocialist period.

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                                                                                                                                                                            Gender and Sexuality

                                                                                                                                                                            Changes in the position of women and sexual minorities have been marked in the postsocialist period, as well as in the prior socialist period. Women’s roles in economic life were in a state of change before, during, and after the socialist period, moving from household-bound work to work outside the home, and then often returning to the home, as chapter 6 in Berdahl 1999 (cited under Memory and the Past) shows for the former GDR when factories closed. Pine 2002 describes a similar situation in Poland, where women returned to the household, and in rural areas became once again involved in domestic production. In Azerbaijan, even the work that women could take on, such as market selling, could be affected by traditional gender relations, as Hejat 2002 demonstrates. This is not to say that women do not have more prominent public roles, as Bitušíková and Koštialová 2009 shows in an ethnography of Slovak female rural mayors. Yet even these public representatives can be seen as a way of balancing ongoing home responsibilities with work in a country where female political participation is low. Gal and Kligman 2000a provides a broad, historical overview of such movements, while Gal and Kligman 2000b is an edited volume of contributions by other researchers, providing particular case studies. From the latter in particular, it can be seen that reproduction, abortion, and other gender issues shape and are shaped by broader economic and social change. Ashwin and Lytkina 2004 shows how men’s sense of masculinity is affected by unemployment and being confined to the home. Sexual minorities have also been deeply affected by postsocialist change. Bunzl 2000 shows how young men’s bodies in Czechoslovakia were colonized by Austrian sex tourists who viewed them as “Others.” While Kuhar and Tackács 2007 aims to show how there are similarities in how sexual minorities are treated and viewed in both Eastern and Western societies, the book provides examples of the particular issues faced by LGBT persons throughout postsocialist Europe. The Latvian anthropologist Putniņa’s chapter in Part VI shows how questions of sexual (and gender) normality entered public debate due to a contentious Pride march. Kubica 2009 shows a similar case from Poland involving university staff and premises as well as national icons. In addition, Owczarzak 2009 (cited under Definitions) and the accompanying journal articles in that special issue are a further worthwhile source of information on the experiences of women and sexual minorities.

                                                                                                                                                                            • Ashwin, Sarah, and Tatyana Lytkina. 2004. Men in crisis in Russia: The role of domestic marginalization. Gender & Society 18.2: 189–206.

                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1177/0891243203261263Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                              The authors show how men face feelings of loss of masculinity due to unemployment in Russia. To counter this, the men either regain employment or, when in the female space of the home, take on household tasks viewed as being masculine.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Bitušíková, Alexandra, and Katarína Koštialová. 2009. Gender and governance in rural communities of postsocialist Slovakia. In Postsocialist Europe: Anthropological perspectives from home. Edited by László Kürti and Peter Skalník, 29–50. New York: Berghahn.

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                                                                                                                                                                                Book chapter that analyzes the position of two female mayors of Slovak rural towns and the circumstances that led to their election, including how their female gender affects their role.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Bunzl, Matti. 2000. The Prague experience: Gay male sex tourism and the neocolonial invention of an embodied border. In Altering states: Ethnographies of transition in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Edited by Daphne Berdahl, Matti Bunzl, and Martha Lampland, 70–95. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  Book chapter in which Bunzl likens Austrian sex tourists’ practices to neocolonialism, as they simultaneously enjoy sexual intercourse with young Czech men but construct them as “Others” due to the differences perceived in comparison to Western (Austrian) gay men.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Gal, Susan, and Gail Kligman. 2000a. The politics of gender after socialism: A comparative-historical essay. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Book-length essay that provides a broad overview of gender issues in postsocialist East Central Europe. Closely linked to Gal and Kligman 2000b.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    • Gal, Susan, and Gail Kligman, eds. 2000b. Reproducing gender: Politics, publics, and everyday life after socialism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      Edited collection of case studies of reproduction, daily gender relations, and issues of women’s representation.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      • Hejat, Farideh. 2002. Women and the culture of entrepreneurship in Soviet and post-Soviet Azerbaijan. In Markets and moralities: Ethnographies of postsocialism. Edited by Caroline Humphrey and Ruth Mandel, 19–32. Oxford: Berg.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        Book chapter that shows the moral values of market trading (al ver) by women and the issues women face entering this area, taking into account Soviet notions of the market/marketplace and those of women in Islam.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Kubica, Grażyna. 2009. A rainbow flag against the Krakow Dragon: Polish responses to the gay and lesbian movement. In Postsocialist Europe: Anthropological perspectives from home. Edited by László Kürti and Peter Skalník, 118–150. New York: Berghahn.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          A quite dramatic text showing how an LGBT festival to be organized on university premises in Kraków became subject to protest, with ecclesial strings being pulled to ban it, university officials apparently acquiescing, and sites of nationalism and symbols of the nation being used in the multifaceted protests that ensued.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          • Kuhar, Roman, and Judit Tackács, eds. 2007. Beyond the pink curtain: Everyday life of LGBT people in Eastern Europe. Ljubljana, Slovenia: Mirovni Inštitut.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            An edited volume, with contributions from anthropologists or anthropologically minded sociologists, that considers the issues that face LGBT people in postsocialist Europe, such as high levels of homophobia.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • Pine, Frances. 2002. Retreat to the household?: Gendered domains in postsocialist Poland. In Postsocialism: Ideals, ideologies and practices in Eurasia. Edited by C. M. Hann, 95–113. New York: Routledge.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              Book chapter that shows how women in Poland were affected by the loss of work outside the home, once a place of escape from domesticity, and their return to such earlier roles. Yet the domestic world, protected from intrusion from the socialist state, maintains its importance in social reproduction in the face of the vagaries of the hostile postsocialist economy.

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