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Tatiana Argounova-Low, Oxana Zemtsova and Anna Bara

Agitating Images: Photography against History in Indigenous Siberia Craig Campbell (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014), 268 pp., 19 illustrations, $27.00 (paper). ISBN: 978-0-8166-8106-8.

Empire of Extinction: Russians and the North Pacific’s Strange Beasts of the Sea, 1741–1867 Ryan Tucker Jones (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), xi + 296 pp. $58.00 (cloth). ISBN: 978-0-19-934341-6.

The Depths of Russia: Oil, Power, and Culture after Socialism Douglas Rogers (London: Cornell University Press, 2015), 370 pp., maps, photographs, drawings. $27.95 (paper). ISBN: 978-0-8014-5658-9.

Books Available for Review Bille, Franck. Sinophobia: Anxiety, Violence, and the Making of Mongolian Identity. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2015, 255 pp. [Cloth $57] ISBN: 978-0-8248-3982-6

Missonova, L. I. Lexicon of the Uilta as a Historical and Ethnographic Source. Moscow: Science, 2013, 334 pp., 24 colored figures and maps. [Cloth, no price available] ISBN 978-5-02038-033-2

Stépanoff, Charles, Carole Ferret, Gaëlle Lacaze, and Julien Thorez. Nomadismes d’Asie centrale et septentrionale [Nomadism in Central and North Asia]. Paris: Armand Colin, 2013, 288 pp. [Cloth €35.00] ISBN 978-2-20027-537-2

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The editors of Theoria feel especially privileged to present, as the opening contribution to this issue, a remarkable essay by the late great sociologist Pierre Bourdieu. Not long before his untimely death earlier this year, Bourdieu entrusted the journal with the publication of this reflection on, and spirited re-affirmation of, the role of the intellectual and the nature of intellectual engagement. This essay is especially resonant in that it speaks so eloquently to, and by implication endorses, the underlying nature and purpose of Theoria as an editorial project. Thus, as we mourn the passing of this remarkable scholar, we take pleasure in communicating through this essay the passion, compassion, wit and commitment – as well as the vast and singular erudition so lightly worn – that were the hallmarks of his large and impressive oeuvre. We have departed from Theoria’s convention in this instance, and have elected not to provide a preliminary sketch of Bourdieu’s argument. Instead, we invite readers to engage directly, without our intermediation, with his evocation of the “utopia of the collective intellectual”; it is to the realization of this “utopia” that we would like to believe this journal makes a modest contribution. We would thus like to believe Pierre Bourdieu would have taken pleasure in engaging, critically, with the contributions to this issue – contributions which provocatively address, among other things, the globally pressing issues of justice and democracy as well as the need to revisit the prospects of market socialism in the context of developing societies.

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Vyacheslav Nikolayevitch Bobkov, Olesya Veredyuk and Ulvi Aliyev

This article exposes criterial bases of the development of social quality in the USSR and Russia. The causes of the increased volatility of the state-monopoly capitalism emerging in Russia from the 1990s and in the first decade of the twenty-first century are analyzed. Characteristics of social quality such as a high proportion of low-paid employees, a low standard of living and a high economic inequality are considered. The impact of the precarity of employment on these processes is demonstrated. Risk factors of precarity of employment such as type of labor contract, form of employment, working conditions and wages (in particular, volatility and discreteness of payments) are analyzed. The evaluation of scale of the precarity of employment in the formal sector in Russia is made; the distribution of workers in precarity of employment by kinds of economic activity and the deviation of their average wages are introduced. Overcoming the instability of development is linked to the transition to a society of people-humanistic socialism.

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David Wildermuth

By most accounts, the March 2013 television event Unsere Mütter, Unsere Väter (UMUV) marks an important milestone in the evolving cinematic treatment of the Third Reich, World War II, and the Holocaust. Winner of the Goldene Kamera for best television film of 2013, UMUV could boast such positive reviews and sensational viewer ratings as few other television films in the almost seventy-year existence of the Federal Republic. Frank Schirrmacher, co-editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, credited the film with ushering in “a new phase of the cinematic-historic treatment of National Socialism,” specifically praising Nico Hofmann, the film’s producer, for his “seriousness, attention to detail, and uncompromising” approach to the film. The Süddeutsche Zeitung praised it as “epochal” and “awaking the war in its entire monstrosity.” Der Spiegel lauded the film as “a new milepost of German cultural remembrance,” for posing “the most important [entscheidende] question for those born after: “how would I have acted?” Even Martin Schulz, the German president of the European Parliament, weighed in on the film, praising the film’s emphasis on the subjective perspectives of the protagonists. His argument for the innate power of the cinematic medium over the written word was echoed by screenwriter Stefan Kolditz, who asserted that the film—like all films—represents, “condensed reality.”

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David Meskill, Optimizing the German Workforce: Labor Administration from Bismarck to the Economic Miracle (New York: Berghahn Books, 2010) Reviewed by Gregory Baldi;

Jan-Werner Müller, Contesting Democracy: Political Ideas in Twentieth-Century Europe (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011) Reviewed by John Bendix;

Douglas B. Klusmeyer and Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Immigration Policy in the Federal Republic of Germany (New York: Berghahn Books, 2009) Reviewed by Suzanna M. Crage;

Derek Hastings, Catholicism & the Roots of Nazism: Religious Identity and National Socialism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010) Reviewed by Robert P. Ericksen;

Review of Pertti Ahonen, Death at the Berlin Wall (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010) Reviewed by Hope M. Harrison;

Wolfgang Scholz, The Social Budget of Germany: Keeping the Welfare State in Perspective (Berlin: edition sigma, 2009) Reviewed by John Bendix;

Philip Broadbent and Sabine Hake, eds., Berlin. Divided City, 1945-1989(New York: Berghahn Books, 2010) Reviewed by Helge F. Jani;

Timothy Snyder, Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (New York: Basic Books, 2010) Reviewed by Larson Powell

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Beginning Again

Storm Jameson's Debt to France

Jennifer Birkett

This essay has a double purpose. The first is to set out the function of France, as the place of salvation, in Storm Jameson’s writing in and about the 1930s. The second is to suggest that her familiarity with French culture – specifically, French writing – provided key models for some of the most important formal innovations she embarked on in that time. Jameson’s was one of the voices most consistently raised against the low, dishonest decade. She devoted herself to conducting two interconnected salvage operations on the social wreck: in the one, recovering a sense of human values (for her, those of a socialism that foregrounds respect for individual needs and dignity), and in the other, looking for that honest and politically effective way of writing about them which was the elusive goal of all her contemporaries on the Left. The success of both was linked for her to the French connection. In the mid-1930s, her Mirror in Darkness trilogy, planned as a five- or six-volume series novel, ran into sand. In the last volume, the heroine, Hervey, who is and is not Jameson, seems to have come to a dead end. Ten years later, however, she is back, in the Journal of Mary Hervey Russell (1945), speaking with a new voice. That Journal is written from France, and it breathes out, at every turn of the page, Hervey’s sense of a personal debt to the country for having redeemed her vision and her writing.

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Disappearing peasants?

On land, rent, and revenue in post-1989 Romania

Cerasela Voiculescu

This article explores the recent transformations of the Romanian peasantry and critically discusses interpretations of these changes as either indicating the persistence or the disappearance of peasants in Romania. It shows that beyond the labels of depeasantization and repeasantization, which are extensively used to describe rural scenarios under socialism and postsocialism, it is important to take analytic account of the more complex social relations between different actors that are developing under the impact of interacting local and global processes. Given the sharp differences between peasants and the new class of agricultural rentiers, as well as the variations within the latter group, the different rent regimes in which peasants negotiate their control over land and subsistence involve complex relationships and statuses. The article concludes by hypothesizing possible ways in which all of these relationships could be transformed in the long run in the new context of the EU agricultural policy and by discussing two possible scenarios for the Romanian rural landscape, namely, those of peripheral and nonperipheral capitalism.

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Understanding Germany’s Short-lived “Culture of Welcome”

Images of Refugees in Three Leading German Quality Newspapers

Maximilian Conrad and Hugrún Aðalsteinsdóttir

The German government’s response to the refugee crisis in the late summer and autumn of 2015 has puzzled observers. Despite initially positive reactions to Angela Merkel’s policy, her position has weakened domestically, contributing to the sudden rise of the Alternative for Germany, but also alienated a number of Germany’s European partners. While the German government’s approach may be difficult to explain from a purely rationalist perspective, this article highlights the role of ideational factors, in particular Germany’s self-understanding as an international actor and a sense of moral obligation drawn from the continued relevance of Germany’s twentieth-century history. We demonstrate that the long shadow of the crimes committed under National Socialism played a key role in shaping German public discourse on the refugee crisis—underlined by a frame analysis of the images of refugees in three leading German daily newspapers between August 2015 and March 2016. Although the inflow of refugees was also framed as a challenge and a potential security risk, the material emphasizes Germany’s moral obligation to provide shelter to those fleeing from war and persecution.

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Faltering dialogue?

For a doubly rooted cosmopolitan anthropology

Chris Hann

Both inside and outside Europe, many societies have drawn on their own textual traditions to generate bodies of knowledge possessing some affinity to comparative socio-cultural anthropology. The premise of this article is that even where the focus is restricted to one country or one nationality, such “national ethnography“ should be considered as a legitimate branch of a broadly conceived anthropological field, rather than belittled or denigrated. Under socialism, both native and foreign researchers carried out fieldwork in similar rural locations in Hungary. A dialogue began, but it seems to have weakened in recent years, despite the fact that access to the region has become incomparably easier. Another change is that Hungarian students are now able to study socio-cultural anthropology as a seperate program in a separate faculty, distinct from Hungarian néprajz. This article is critical of such developments and takes the Hungarian example to argue for the benefits of institutional unification. The resulting department would be larger and more cosmopolitan than the old departments of néprajz, but it would retain its local roots. The integration of “national ethnography“ into research and teaching programs in anthropology would facilitate the persistence of distinctive national, regional, and institution-specific intellectual traditions; such departments could also facilitate the work of fieldworkers from abroad.

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Frances Pine

The socialist states of the Soviet Bloc fell, some gently and some far more abruptly and even violently, between 1989 and 1991. In the two decades that have followed, there have been continual attempts by politicians, social scientists, and other academics, as well as by the citizens of these “former socialist countries” themselves, to come to terms with competing memories of what socialism meant, was, and might have been. Simultaneously, efforts to weigh up and assess a range of very different pasts are matched by forecasts of imagined futures that somehow continue to be driven by and predicated on this complex and kaleidoscopic remembered history. The present, the here and now, can, however, be even more complicated; in some ways it neither escapes entirely from the past nor really sets the stage for the future, but rather is a continual state of “becoming”. Just as “memory” is never a “true” reflection of a time or an event, but rather a multiple layering of recollections that change each time they are evoked, none of these complex and rather messy temporalities actually matches the “real” past, present, or future—all carry complex moral judgments, reflect moral questions, and embody the tension between what might have been, what is, and what should be.