Description - Postsocialism by C. M. Hann
Social scientists did not predict the collapse of the socialist system in 1989-91 and attempts to explain what has happened since have been flawed. Economic disintegration and political instability have been documented, but the deeper causes and consequences have often gone unnoticed. Consequently the solutions proffered, such as the promotion of non-governmental organisations as the foundations of 'civil society', have so far brought little success. Postsocialism presents a range of analyses of the new social order. The view 'from below' obtained through intensive fieldwork, opens up new understanding of the postsocialist condition and the extent to which one dominant ideology has been replaced by another. The topics addressed include: the role of social and cultural capital in determining the 'winners' of rural decollectivization, the devaluation of blue collar labour, the position of Gypsies, the viability of 'multicultural' models in situations of religious differences and ethnic violence, new patterns of consumption, changing ritual practices and the healing of socialist 'trauma'.
The forcible imposition of socialist rule destroyed the integrity of many communities and individual lives; the impact of its demise has also been shattering for millions of citizens in postsocialist Eurasia. Beneath the change, anthropological analysis brings out significant continuities, both in values and in actual behaviour. Time was not 'frozen' during the two or three generations of socialist rule; Rather, the contours of postsocialist society are being shaped by a continuous stream of evolving institutions and practices, which emerges only slowly from the valley of socialism. The term postsocialist will remain pertinent so long as the ideals, ideologies and practices of socialism are perceived to provide a meaningful (albeit increasingly mythical) reference point for understanding people's present condition. Gerald Creed CUNY, Stephan Feuchtwang London School of Economics, Christian Giordano Universitat Fribourg, Robert Hayden University of Pittsburgh, Caroline Humphrey
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(234mm x 156mm x mm)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
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Author Biography - C. M. Hann
C. M. Hann is Founding Director of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, which specialises in studies of postsocialist countries. His book Socialism was published by Routledge in 1992.