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Sacred Spaces and Civic Action

Topographies of Pluralism in Russia

Melissa L. Caldwell

This article examines several key sites where Russia’s civic and religious bodies intersect in pursuit of social justice goals. Based on ethnographic fieldwork among religious communities and social justice organizations in Moscow, the article focuses on the physical, social, and legal spaces where church and state, secular and sacred, civic and personal intersect and the consequences of these intersections for how Russians understand new configurations of church and state, private and public, religious and political. Of particular concern is the emergence of new forms of religious and political pluralism that transcend any one particular space, such as for worship, community life, or political support or protest, and instead reveal shifting practices and ethics of social justice that are more pluralist, progressive, and tolerant than they may appear to be to outside observers.

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Elder care in the new Russia

The changing face of compassionate social security

Melissa L. Caldwell

Changing emigration and co-residence patterns in the post-Soviet period have left many elderly Russians living alone or without caretakers in close proximity. In addition, Russia's transition from state socialism to neoliberal capitalism has encouraged private welfare groups, often funded and staffed by foreigners, to assume increased responsibility for providing social security to elderly people. Consequently, notions of compassion are undergoing transformation in Russia, and the types of people who provide care are also changing dramatically as caregivers are more likely to be strangers, and especially foreigners, rather than family members. This article examines social security arrangements among Russia's elderly, with particular emphasis on the emergence of transnational caregiving relationships, and how these caregiving arrangements differ from global care networks reported elsewhere.