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Post-socialism Meets Postcolonialism

African Migrants in the Russian Capital

Dmitri M. Bondarenko, Elena A. Googueva, Sergey N. Serov, and Ekaterina V. Shakhbazyan

While Western Europe has a long history of facing and studying the issues of immigration, this phenomenon is still recent for the ex-socialist states and has not been studied sufficiently yet. At the same time, the 'closed' nature of the socialist societies and the difficulties of the 'transitional period' of the 1990s predetermine the problems in communication between the migrants and the population majority, the specific features of the forming diasporas and of their probable position in the receiving societies. The study of African migrants in Russia (particularly in Moscow) recently launched by the present authors consists of two interrelated parts: the sociocultural adaptation of migrants from Africa in Russia on the one hand, and the way they are perceived in Russia on the other. One of the key points of the study is the formation or non-formation of diasporas as network communities, as a means of both more successful adaptation and identity support.

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Jonathan Bach

Across former East Germany today there are more than two dozen private museums devoted to representing everyday life under socialism. Some are haphazard collections in cramped spaces, others marketable mainstays of their local tourist economy. Historians have criticized them as at best amateurish and, at worst, a trivialization of the GDR's repressive practices. Yet, this article argues how, as a social phenomenon, these museums form an important early phase in postunification efforts by public cultural institutions to incorporate the GDR everyday into working through the past. The article examines the museum's modes of representation and shows how the museums lay claim to authenticity through a tactile, interactive, and informal approach. Despite valid criticisms, the article argues that the museums can be seen as helping overcome, rather than reinforce, the binary of totalitarianism and everyday life as antagonistic frameworks for understanding the socialist past.

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Marissa C. de Baca

Erin Y. Huang. Urban Horror: Neoliberal Post-Socialism and the Limits of Visibility (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2020). 288 pp. ISBN: 978-1-4780-0809-5 / 978-1-4780-0679-4; (paperback, $26.95; hardback, $99.05) Reviewed by Marissa

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Sight and Touch between East and West

Ethics, Ethnography and Social Theory

Liene Ozolina

I am sympathetic to the proposition of interrogating the epistemic boundaries of post-socialism and to explore what this concept can offer to other fields of knowledge. In one of the articles in this theme issue, Ognjen Kojanić suggests that

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Theory from the Peripheries

What Can the Anthropology of Postsocialism Offer to European Anthropology?

Ognjen Kojanić

contribution of ethnographies of post-socialism in Europe. 2 Crucially, while studies of European post-socialism are often understood to be limited to the region of CEE as a substantively defined region, I point out how they can be used as a basis for an

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Narva as Method

Urban Inventories and the Mutation of the Postsocialist City

Francisco Martínez

Locating the Prefix This article builds up the portrait of a city being transformed and transforming itself in the context of broader geopolitical and economic shifts. It presents examples of how complex divergent experiences of postsocialism

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“They don’t even know how to copy”

The discourse on originality in Albania’s art world

Sofia Kalo

Arts, had a dispute over who first thought of an idea they both represented artistically in quick succession. The series of works in question dealt with Albania’s unruly and decaying urban landscape in postsocialism, an issue that has been taken up by

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A Ghost from the Future

The Postsocialist Myth of Capitalism and the Ideological Suspension of Postmodernity

Ridvan Peshkopia

There is a widespread tendency to see the perils of postsocialism in the revival of the ghosts and myths from the past—namely ethnocentrism, nationalism, exclusiveness, bickering, collectivist-authoritarianism, expansionist chauvinism, and victimisation. I suggest that postsocialism's perils rest with a myth from the future, namely, the myth of capitalism. Those perils, I argue, are rooted in the fetishisation of capitalism by the postsocialist societies as a reflection of their deeply ingrained teleological way of perceiving the future. Political leaders are taking advantage of this situation by putting themselves in the position of those who would lead toward such a utopia. As a consequence, individual freedoms are sacrificed at the altar of communitarian bliss. I suggest that the only hope that we have to secularise the newly re-religiosised postsocialist societies rests with intellectuals.

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Differences in temporal reasoning

Temporal complexity and generational clashes in an East German city

Felix Ringel

Hoyerswerda, Germany's fastest-shrinking city, faces problems with the future that seem initially unrelated to the past and yet excite manifold conflicting accounts of it. The multiple and conflicting temporal references employed by Hoyerswerdians indicate that the temporal regime of postsocialism is accompanied, if not overcome, by the temporal framework of shrinkage. By reintroducing the analytical domain of the future, I show that local temporal knowledge practices are not historically predetermined by a homogenous postsocialist culture or by particular generational experiences. Rather, they exhibit what I call temporal complexity and temporal flexibility-creative uses of a variety of coexisting temporal references. My ethnographic material illustrates how such expressions of different forms of temporal reasoning structure social relations within and between different generations. Corresponding social groups are not simply divided by age, but are united through shared and heavily disputed negotiations of the post-Cold War era's contemporary crisis.

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Action Speaks Louder Than Words?

Trust, Trustworthiness and Social Transformation in Slovakia

Davide Torsello

This article argues that trust cannot be easily isolated as a form of social interaction without the risk of overseeing the nuance between practices and ideas. Using a case study of a rural community in post-socialist Slovakia, the author examines how trust and trustworthiness are built and applied under conditions of profound social transformation. Following mainstream anthropological approaches to post-socialism, he shows that this transformation has deeply affected the patterns of local social interaction. Moreover, following Slovakia's recent EU accession, increased social and work mobility have further complicated the picture. If trust remains a crucial idea underpinning individual social choices, cognitive constructions of trustworthiness tend to diverge from practices. This is due, among other factors, to the difficulty of calibrating spatial and temporal mental models of trustworthiness with trust as social action.