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Lost in Transition: Ethnographies of Everyday Life After Communism

Ethnographies of Everyday Life After Communism

Through ethnographic essays and short stories based on her experiences in Eastern Europe between 1989 and 2009, Kristen Ghodsee explains why many Eastern Europeans are nostalgic for the communist past


Kristen Ghodsee is the Director and John S. Osterweis Associate Professor of Gender and Women's Studies at Bowdoin College. She is the author of "Muslim Lives in Eastern Europe: Gender, Ethnicity, and the Transformation of Islam in Postsocialist Bulgaria" and "The Red Riviera: Gender, Tourism, and Postsocialism on the Black Sea," also published by Duke University Press.

"In this accessible book, ethnographer Kristen Ghodsee turns her attention to the human costs of the passing of Communism in Bulgaria... Lost in Transition emphasises the disparate legacies of Communism in Bulgaria, from those eagerly pursuing new business opportunities in a new capitalist world to those nostalgic for the safety and security provided by a paternalistic state. The book has the feel of a travelogue, as Ghodsee tells us how falling in love as a graduate student led to her interest in the plight of post-Communist Bulgaria. Although occasionally this can be too much, when she hints at her husband's adulterous behaviour, or when she waxes lyrical about her love for the rock band U2, overall the travelogue approach gives her work an immediacy that is both compelling and highly readable." Hester Vaizey, Times Higher Education, January 26th 2012 "The collapse of the Soviet empire entailed not only the Blitzkrieg dissolution of the socialist economies and one-party states of Eastern Europe, but also immediate accidental and incidental changes in the everyday lives of its residents. With an ear for the ironic, the sensual, the playful, and the tragic, Kristen Ghodsee tells personal stories from this period of dissolution, which began several decades before the Berlin Wall came down. Drawing from her encounters in many years of research in Bulgaria, she portrays the changing nature of experience in that place during that time. Though understood as impoverished at the time, this socialist experiment reveals, in retrospect, lives filled with adventure, surprising friendships, and an openness to forms of engagement and being that makes the fullness of the free market and democracy in the post-Cold War order of today seem, by comparison, pale and predictable."--John Borneman, Princeton University "These charming essays have an unintended consequence. Not only are they a documentary ethnography of the lives of people caught up in the painful transition from socialism to capitalism. They are also a sort of Bildungsroman of a young American discovering another world and shedding stereotypes."--Maria Todorova, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign "... Ghodsee's book will prove insightful to those investigating the transition to democracy in Eastern Europe, as well as those reflecting on the practice of ethnography itself."--Veronika Pehe, Slovo "Ghodsee's stories beautifully demonstrate how nostalgic sentiments do not mean a return to the past but are part of a coping mechanism during hard times... I would highly recommend the book in various classrooms to introduce the intimate experiences of Cold War, communism, and post-communism, as well as to broaden the understanding of modern Europe, and theworld which continues the legacies of the Cold War. Courses on ethnographic methods as well as ethnographies of post-socialism will also find use in these compelling stories and experimental writings."--Yuson Jung, Anthropological Quarterly "Lost in Transition tells stories about how the lives of ordinary people changed after the fall of the Soviet Union. The author... navigates the task of producing a balanced account of the transition from communism to capitalism with skill... The continuation of this project will surely enrich the body of literature on the subject."--Sahar Razavi, International Feminist Journal of Politics "The[se] stories are short, written in a simple style, that is accessible and easy - as well as a pleasure - to read... This book has much to offer both students and nonexperts of the region (especially in the US, which clearly is the intended market for this work). But its value goes beyond the concern with postsocialism, as the stories also throw light on one US citizen's experiences of growing up during the Cold War... [A] valuable contribution."--Deema Kaneff, Anthropos
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Einband Taschenbuch
Seitenzahl 232
Erscheinungsdatum 01.08.2011
Sprache Englisch
ISBN 978-0-8223-5102-3
Verlag Duke Univ Pr
Maße (L/B/H) 233/154/17 mm
Gewicht 326
Buch (Taschenbuch, Englisch)
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