Oslo Summer School in Comparative Social Science Studies 2010
Decentralising Economies: Anthropological Perspectives
Lecturer: Professor Catherine Alexander,
Department of Anthropology, Goldsmiths,
University of London, United Kingdom
Main disciplines: Social Anthropology, Sociology, Geography
Dates: 26 - 30 July 2010
Course Credits: 10 pts (ECTS)
Limitation: 30 participants
The fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union two years later appeared to be the end of a 70-year experiment with a centralised planned economy. To judge from many characterisations at the time, and since, the Cold War opposition between two rival ways of organising social and economic life was concluded with a victory for the free market. The ‘shock therapy’ package of decentralising and liberalising measures was applied to this vast region of the world. The services, assets and responsibilities of the state, were withdrawn or curtailed. The effects have frequently been devastating.
The objectives of this lecture course are twofold. The first is to explore how social and economic systems in the former Soviet bloc changed after its collapse in 1991, and how this has been experienced by citizens. Unemployment, for example, led to new work patterns, migration, changed gender roles and awkward engagements with volatile value standards and moralities. The second, parallel objective is to challenge some of the assumptions of Cold War rhetorical oppositions by investigating the broader post-war history of state capitalism and shared legacies. In order to do this, the lectures will highlight common beliefs and practices in apparently different political economies, as well as their material manifestation through similar technologies, materials and aesthetics. Moving forward to the last twenty years, events in the former Soviet Union will be placed in a wider global context, in and beyond Eurasia, of decentralising economies and the consequences for people’s lives.
The lectures are structured to move from a broad background and macro-level processes to their effects at the micro-level of household economies and everyday lives. After locating the rise and decline of centralised economies in the twentieth century, in line with the shift from developmental to neo-liberal policies, I discuss the changing function and role of contemporary states. This is followed by debates on the nature of the public sphere in the early twenty-first century, to ideas of governmentality, self-regulation, and the increasing imbrication of state, market and society. The result, arguably, is not so much a retraction of the state as a kind of neo-mercantilism. The privatisation of state assets and services has been a central plank of these policies, increasingly drawing the third sector into a kind of quasi-privatisation. Labour security is steadily being replaced by precarious, short-term, unprotected contracts. The impacts on fundamental notions of rights, welfare, and gender politics have been profound. In response, household economies show marked changes in gendered divisions of labour and a new reliance reliance on labour migration. It is at the level of the household that the intertwined politics of recognition and redistribution are most sharply experienced.
Cities typically materialise broader socio-economic processes in a heightened form. The final four lectures will therefore examine many of the propositions raised earlier in the week through the built environment and shared material legacies. These lectures consider the social and material effects of changes in planning and urban governance in cities both in the Soviet Union and elsewhere. Post-war housing, which was built to embody a particular sense of the relationship between state and citizen, is now often crumbling away. Housing, and the lived experiences of residents, bring together micro and macro concerns and give a sharp insight into the immediate effects of decentralising economies.
Suggested basic books for the course preparation
Students is expected to have obtained and read at least a few of these books in advance of the course.
- Alexander, C., Personal States: making connections between people and bureaucracy in Turkey, Oxford University Press (2002).
- Amin, A., (2000) Post-Fordism, a reader, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd, pp 251-79.
- Buck-Morss, S., (2000), Dreamworld and Catastrophe: the passing of mass utopia, Cambridge: MIT Press.
- Hibou, B. and J Derrick, (2004), Privatizing the State, Oxford: Blackwell
- K.Verdery and Humphrey C. (eds.), 2004, Property in Question. Oxford, Berg Publishers
Date: 26th July 2010 a.m.
Lecture 1 & 2: Histories and geographies of centralisation and decentralisation
The lecture course opens with an exploration of the tenacious Cold War rhetoric that opposed states characterized by centralized, planned economies to those described as market-driven economies. By taking a longer-term view, this lecture shows that neither depiction held true in practice. Just as anthropologists and other scholars of the former Soviet bloc concerned themselves with ‘actually existing socialism’, so it is also necessary to pay attention both to actually existing capitalism, and to knowledge exchanges between regions and states conventionally cast simply as adversaries. Shifting the focus in this way allows us to do two things. The first shows that after the Second World War, versions of state capitalism dominated much of the globe. The second, related argument is that there are many material, social and economic legacies in common, a point extended by Chari and Verdery (2009) who link colonial and socialist practices and effects. One consequence of this theoretical restructuring is to emphasise that the unregulated market enjoined upon decentralizing post-Soviet economies, has barely been introduced elsewhere. Rather, a different configuration of state and market has emerged in practice that is more akin to neo-mercantilism; concerns with equitable redistribution have shifted to a politics of recognition.
- Jessop, B., (2000), Chapter 8, Post-Fordism and the State, in Amin, A., (2000) Post-Fordism, a reader, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd, pp 251-79.
- Buck-Morss, S., (2000), Dreamworld and Catastrophe: the passing of mass utopia, Cambridge: MIT Press.
- Harvey, D, (1991), The Postmodern Condition: an inquiry into the origins of cultural change, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
- Hart, K., (2005), Formal bureaucracy and the emergent forms of the informal economy, United Nations University WIDER Research Paper.
- Kagarlitsky, B., (1988), Perestroika: The Dialectic of Change, New Left Review, 1/169. reprinted as B. Kagarlitsky, Chapter 15, perestroika: the dialectic of change, in The New detente: rethinking East-West relations, (1989), (eds.), M. Kaldor, G. Holden, R. A. Falk., London and New York: Verso.
- Chari, S. and K. Verdery. (2009) Thinking between the Posts: Postcolonialism, Postsocialism, and Ethnography after the Cold War. Comparative Studies in Society and History 51:01, 6.
- Anderson, P., (1976), The Advent of Western Marxism, Formal Innovations, Contrasts & Conclusions, and Afterward, in Considerations on Western Marxism, London: NLB.
- Therborn, G., (1996), Dialectics of Modernity: On critical theory and the legacy... New Left Review 215.
- Therborn, G., (2007), After Dialectics: Radical Social Theory in a Post-Communist World, New Left Review 43.
Date: 26th July 2010 p.m.
Lecture 3 & 4: What’s left of the public sector?
In their ideal forms, neither communism nor neo-liberalism, has much of a place for the state. Yet, as Trotsky observed in 1932, in respect of the Bolshevik revolution, state bureaucracies rarely seem to dwindle in size, let alone wither away. This lecture is concerned with the changing forms and practices of states that have overtly been moving to shed control over large parts of social life, devolve power to local administrations, divest state controlled assets and services to the private sector – but which nevertheless remain large. It examines what happened in the 1990s when banks collapsed in the absence of a robust state in the former Soviet bloc, many administrative functions were turned into private agencies, violence became ‘privatised’ and, what was left of the public sector, was itself often fractured into rival rent-seeking appanages.
Well beyond the former Soviet bloc, market values are increasingly being adopted within state bureaucracies under New Public Management principles which advocate the use of internal markets and outsourcing as many ‘non-core’ functions as possible. Some would argue the state has simply become a penal state. The role of elites in controlling and have privileged access to state resources and power is discussed as a growing global phenomenon.
- Alexander, C., (2007), Rethinking the public sector, in Urban Life in post-Soviet Asia, (eds.) C. Alexander, V. Buchli and C. Humphrey, London: Routledge.
- Collier, S., (2005), Budgets and Biopolitics, in Global Assemblages: technology, politics and ethics as anthropological problems, (eds.) A. Ong and S. Collier, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.
- Friedman, J., (ed.), (2003), Globalization, the state and violence, Lanham, M.D.: AltaMira Press. (chapter on elites)
- Humphrey, C., (2002), Russian protection rackets and the appropriation of law and order, in The Unmaking of Soviet life: everyday economies after socialism. Cornell University Press.
- Trouillot, MR, C Hann, L Kurti, (2001), The anthropology of the state in the age of globalisation Current Anthropology. 42(1):125-138.
- Verdery, K., (1997). A Transition from Socialism to Feudalism? Thoughts on the Postsocialist State, in What Was Socialism and What Comes Next? Princeton: Princeton
University Press. Pp. 204–28.
- Buck, A., (2006), Postsocialist patronage: Expressions of resistance and loyalty, Studies in Comparative International Development, 41/3: 3-24.
- Fraser, N., (1995), From Redistribution to Recognition? Dilemmas of Justice in a 'Post-Socialist' Age, New Left Review, Vol. a,
- Hibou, B. and J Derrick, (2004), Privatizing the State, Oxford: Blackwell.
- Kulcsar, L. and Domokos, T., (2005), The Post-Socialist Growth Machine: The Case of Hungary, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 29/3: 550-63.
- Loïc Wacquant, (2002), The Curious Eclipse of Prison Ethnography in the Age of Mass Incarceration, Ethnography, Vol. 3, No. 4, 371-397.
Date: 27th July 2010 a.m.
Lecture 5 & 6: Governance and governmentality
These lectures track the development of regulation in areas purportedly outside the state. Increasingly, market principles and practices are not only shaping the way bureaucracies perform but also organisations in the public sphere and individuals. Following Foucault’s idea of governmentality, these lectures track the trajectory of the diffusion of centralised power to the governance of the self, which effectively outsources the business of government to the governed, and does so in a manner that is tractable to market interests. Studies of the rise of audit cultures suggest that the experience and power of the state is spreading through such mechanisms as accountability. At the same time, the non-profit part of the public sphere, often referred to as the third sector, is increasingly taking on what had been state service provision; this is variously cast either as empowerment or as quasi-privatisation.
- Alexander, C., (2009), Illusions of Freedom: Polanyi and the third sector, in Market and Society: The Great Transformation Today, (eds.) C.Hann and K.Hart, Cambridge University Press.
- Cruickshank, B., (1999), Chapter 3: the Will to Empower, in The Will to Empower: Democratic Citizens and Other Subjects, Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.
- Foucault, M., (1991), Governmentality, in G. Burchell, C. Gordon and P.Miller (eds) The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 87-104.
- Fraser, N., (1997), Rethinking the public sphere: a contribution to the critique of actually existing democracy, in Justice Interruptus: critical reflections on the postsocialist condition, London: Routledge.
- Wolfe, T.C., (2000), Cultures and communities in the anthropology of eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol 29: 195-216.
- Hemmnent, J., (2004), The riddle of the third sector: civil society, international aid and NGOs in Russia, Anthropological Quarterly, Vol 77(2):
- Hoffman, L., (2006), Autonomous choices and patriotic professionalism: on governmentality in late-socialist China, Economy and Society Volume 35 Number 4 November 2006: 550-70.
- Phillips, S.D., (2005), Postsocialism, governmentality, and subjectivity: an introduction, Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology, Vol.70(4): 437 – 442.
- Rose, N., (1990), Governing the Soul: the shaping of the private self, Oxford: Blackwell.
- Wright, S. and C. Shore (2000), Coercive accountability: The rise of audit culture in higher education in M. Strathern, (ed.) Audit Culture: anthropological studies in accountability, ethics and the Academy, London: Routledge.
- Yurchak, A., (2001), Entrepreneurial governmentality in postsocialist Russia: a cultural investigation of business practices, in The New Entrepreneurs of Europe and Asia: patterns of business development in Russia, East Europe and China,, M.E.Sharpe, Inc.
Date: 27th July 2010 p.m.
Lecture 7 & 8: Privatisation and changing property regimes
These lectures focus on what is often presented as the foundational plank of the free market and democracy: private property. Privatisation is typically taken to be the transfer of publicly or commonly owned assets into exclusive ownership. Closer examination of particular instances illustrates the problems with meaningfully bounding and isolating a property object from one set of social relations and contexts, then inserting it into another. Mass privatization of state assets and services began in Britain in the late 1970s when social housing stock was sold off under the 1980 Right to Buy Act. Shortly afterwards, in the 1990s, many of the countries of the former Soviet bloc privatized state assets (industrial enterprises, housing stock, land) and, in so doing, raised a series of new questions about the fundamental nature of property. Frequently, the supposed transfer of assets in fact left people with liabilities. As many ex-Soviet economies have stabilized, there has been a growing switch of key assets back into state hands but as rent seeking assets.
- Alexander, Catherine (2004): Values, Relations, and Changing Bodies: Privatization and Property Rights in Kazakhstan, in Property in Question. (eds.) K.Verdery and Humphrey C. Oxford, Berg Publishers:251-73.
- James, D., (2006), South Africa’s Land reform programme, in Changing properties of property, (eds.) F. von benda-Beckmann, K. von Benda-Beckmann and M. Wiber, New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books.
- Kingston-Mann, E., (2006), the Romance of Privatisation and its unheralded challengers: case studies from English, Russian, Soviet and Post-Soviet History, in Changing Properties of Property, (eds.) F. von Benda-Beckmann, K. von Benda-Beckmann, M. Wiber, Oxford: Berghahn.
- Stark, D., (1996), "Recombinant Property in East European Capitalism", American Journal of Sociology, vol. 101(4): pp. 993-1027.
- Verdery, K., (1999): Fuzzy Property: Rights, Power, and Identity in Transylvania's Decollectivization, in Uncertain Transition: Ethnographies of Change in the Post-Socialist World. M. Burawoy, K. Verdery, eds. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield: 53-82
- Hann, C., (ed.), (1998): Introduction: the embeddedness of property. In Property Relations. Renewing the Anthropological Tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press:1-47.
- Stark, D., (1994), Path dependence and privatisation strategies in east central Europe, in Transition to Capitalism? The communist legacy in eastern Europe, (ed.) János Mátyás Kovács, Transaction Publishers.
Date: 28th July 2010 a.m.
Lecture 9 and 10: Markets and Moralities
These lectures focus on the experiences of new market encounters. These range from a new emphasis on citizens as consumers rather than producers, the experience of trading in or buying from open-air markets, the frequent elision of traders, strangers, dirt and peripheries, and entrepreneurial activities.
- Hann, C., (2009), Embedded socialism? Land, labour, and money in eastern Xinjiang, in Market and Society: The Great Transformation Today, (eds.) C. Hann and K. Hart, Cambridge University Press.
- Humphrey, C., (1997): Traders, 'Disorder', and Citizenship Regimes in Provincial Russia. In Uncertain Transition: Ethnographies of Change in the Postsocialist World, (eds.) K. Verdery and M.Burawoy, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 19-52.
- Kaneff, D. (2002): The Shame and Pride of Market Activity: Morality, Identity and Trading in Post-Socialist Rural Bulgaria. In Markets and Moralities. Ethnographies of Post-socialism. Eds. R. Mandel, and C. Humphrey. Oxford: Berg: 33-51.
- Pine, F. (2002): From Production to Consumption in Post-Socialism? In Markets and Moralities. Ethnographies of Postsocialism. Mandel, Ruth and Caroline Humphrey, eds. Oxford: Berg: 209-224.
- Sik, E. and C.Wallace (1999): The development of open air markets in East-central Europe. International Journal of Urban and Regional Studies 23(4):697-714
- Spector, R., (2008), Bazaar Politics: The Fate of Marketplaces in Kazakhstan, Problems of Post-Communism, Volume 55(6): 42-53.
- Aidis, R., (2003), Officially despised yet tolerated: openair markets and entrepreneurship in post-socialist countries, Communist Economies,
- Ries, N., 2002, ‘Honest Bandits’ and ‘Warped People’ in Ethnography in Ethnography in Unstable Places, (eds) C. J. Greenhouse, E. Mertz & K. B. Warren, Durham : Duke University Press.
- Wanner, Catherine (2005) Money, Morality and New Forms of Exchange in Postsocialist Ukraine. Ethnos, Vol 70,4:515-537.
- Lemon, A., (2000): Talking Transit and Spectating Transition: The Moscow Metro. In Altering States. D. Berdahl, M. Bunzl, M. Lampland eds. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press: 14-39.
Date: 28th July 2010 p.m.
Lectures 11 and 12: Labour
This lecture examines changes in the nature and experience of labour through three aspects of shifts in work and labour relations. The first, considers economic transformations as contexts moved from assured work to global, flexible capitalism and increasingly unprotected, short-term contracts. The second, considers whether or not factory, and other, work is essentially the same experience, regardless of the wider economic structure in which it is embedded (America or Kazakhstan). The third focuses on the self and community, discussing the importance of work as a means of being human. In this frame, the effects of unemployment and the demands of new forms of work are iscussed. The material in these and the previous lectures highlight the continued relevance of Polanyi’s The Great Transformation.
- Beynon, H., (1985), Working For Ford, Penguin (second edition with two new chapters and preface).
- Brown, K., (2001), Gridded Lives: Why Kazakhstan and Montana Are Nearly the Same Place, The American Historical Review, 106(1).
- Dunn, E., (2005), Privatizing Poland: Baby Food, Big Business and the Remaking of Labor, Cornell University Press.
- Kiblitskaya, M., (2000), ‘Once We Were Kings’: Male Experiences of Loss of Status at Work in Post-Communist Russia.” In Gender, State and Society in Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia, ed. Sara Ashwin, pp. 90-104. London and New York: Routledge.
- Kovacheva, S., S. Lewis, and N. Demireva (2005): Changing Cultures in Changing Workplaces: UK and Bulgaria Compared. Sociological Problems. No 37:62-81.
- Lampland, M., (1995), The Object of Labor: commodification in socialist Hungary, The University of Chicago Press.
- Mollona, M., (2009), Made in Sheffield, Oxford: Berghahn.
- Stenning, A., (2005), Re-placing work: economic transformations and the shape of a community in post-socialist Poland, Work, Employment & Society, Vol. 19(2), 235-259.
- Dickinson, Jennifer. 2005. “Gender, Work, and Economic Restructuring in a Transcarpatia Village (Ukraine).” Nationalities Papers 33(3):387-401.
- Dunn, Elisabeth (2001): Carrots, Class, and Capitalism: Employee Management in a Post-Socialist Enterprise. In Poland Beyond Communism. "Transition" in Critical Perspective. M. Buchowski, E. Conte, C. Nagengast eds. Freiburg: Universitätsverlag: 259-279.
- Stenning, (2005), Where is the Post-socialist Working Class?: Working-Class Lives in the Spaces of (Post-)Socialism, Sociology, 39(5): 983 – 999.
Date: 29th July 2010 a.m.
Lecture 13 & 14: Gender and Decentralising Economies
‘The woman question’, as it was known, was a central part of early socialist writings bent on emancipating women from bourgeois oppression via incorporation into the socialist body politic. A large part of this was to be the central provision of childcare and household work. This often failed to happen. Instead women had to cope with domestic labour, collective labour and active participation in public life. With mass unemployment in the formal sector after 1991, many women became the family breadwinners; the double burden of domestic and waged employment took on a new form as state employment contracted sharply. Some of the readings for the previous lectures will also be relevant here for references to masculinities, and changing experiences and roles for men and older generations. Alongside an examination of the post-Soviet states, we also look at the changing politics of welfare in Europe more broadly.
- Bridger, S., & R. Kay, (1996), ‘Gender and generation in the new Russian Labour market’ in Gender, Generation and Identity in Contemporary Russia, H. Pilkington (ed), London: Routledge, Chapter 2.
- Diedrich, R-M., (2004), ‘Passages to No-Man’s-Land: Connecting Work, Community and Masculinity in the South Wales Coalfield’ in Workers and Narratives of Survival in Europe, (ed) A. Procoli, NY: State University of New York Press. Chapter 5.
- Einhorn, B., (1993), New for Old? Ideology, the Family and the Nation, in Cinderella Goes to Market: Citizenship, Gender and Women’s Movements in East Central Europe, pp. 39-73. London and New York: Verso.
- Fraser, N., (1997), After the family wage: a postindustrial thought experiment, in Justice Interruptus: critical reflections on the ‘postsocialist’ condition, London: Routledge.
- Gal, S. and G. Kligman, (2000), Chapter 3, Dilemmas of public and private, in The Politics of Gender after Socialism. Princeton University Press.
- Hayden, D., (2002), Redesigning the American Dream: gender, housing and family life, W.W. Norton.
- Moore, H. L., (1988), ‘Women and the State’ in Feminism and Anthropology, H. Moore, Cambridge : Polity Press (chapter 5)
- Thelen, T., (2005), ‘Caring Grandfathers : changes in support between generations in east Germany’ in Generations, Kinship and Care. Gendered provisions of social security in central eastern Europe, (eds) H. Haukanes & F. Pine, Bergen : University of Bergen.
- Thelen, T., (2006), ‘Experiences of Devaluation : Work, Gender and Identity in Eastern Germany, Working Paper No. 85, MPI for Social Anthropology.
- De Soto, H.G., (1993), ‘Equality/Inequality: Contesting female personhood in the process of making civil society in Eastern Germany’ in The Curtain Rises. Rethinking culture, ideology and the state in eastern Europe, (ed) H. G. De. Soto and D. Anderson, New Jersey: Humanities Press.
- Bridger, S., Kay, R., & K. Pinnick, (1996), No more heroines? Russia, Women and the Market, London : Routledge. Chapters: Introduction, Chapter 1 and Conclusion
- Pine, F., (1996), ‘Redefining women’s work in rural Poland’ in After Socialism, (ed.) R. Abrahams, Oxford: Berghahn Books. (Chapter 5)
- Silverman, B. & M. Yanowitch, (2000), ‘A question of difference : women as losers’ in New Rich New Poor New Russia, New York : M.E. Sharpe.
- Kay, R. & M. Kostenko, (2006), ‘Men in Crisis or in Critical Need of Support ? Insights from Russia and the UK’, Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics, Vol : 22 (1), pp.
- Attwood, L. (1996), The Post-Soviet Woman in the Move to the Market: A Return to
Domesticity and Dependence?, In Women in Russia and Ukraine, ed. Rosalind Marsh, pp. 255-266. Cambridge University Press
- Gapova, E., (2004), “Conceptualizing Gender, Nation, and Class in Post-Soviet Belarus.” In Post-Soviet Women Encountering Transition: Nation Building, Economic Survival, and Civic Activism, ed. K. Kuehnast and C. Nechemias (Washington, D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Center Press.
- Haney, L. (1999), But we are still mothers: gender, the State and the construction of need in postsocialist Hungary, in Uncertain Transition: ethnographies of change in the postsocialist world, (eds.) M. Burawoy and K.Verdery, Rowman and Littlefield.
- Pine, F., (2002), Retreat to the Household? Gendered Domains in Postsocialist
Poland, in Postsocialism: Ideals, Ideologies and Practices in Eurasia, ed. C.M. Hann, pp. 95-113. London and New York: Routledge.
- Watson, P., (1997), Civil Society and the Politics of Difference in Eastern Europe, in
Transitions, Environments, Translations: Feminisms in International Politics, ed. J.W. Scott, C. Kaplan, and D. Keates, pp. 20-29. New York and London: Routledge
Date: 29th July 2010 p.m.
Lecture 15: Household Economies
Centrally planned economies typically integrated households and workplaces into the broader economy. Thus, housing and its maintenance, childcare, healthcare and so forth was often provided as part remuneration for work, along with pensions. One effect of decentralizing economies was to sever these connections. Labour was now commodified and separated from household concerns. Distinctions hardened between gendered divisions of public and private spaces. As formal employment has become more precarious, household economic strategies variously drew on community support, turned to self-provisioning, informal economies, or remittances.
- Fraser, N., (1997), Chapter 2, After the Family Wage in Justice Interruptus, London: Routledge.
- Kandiyoti, D., (1999), Poverty in transition: an ethnographic critique of household surveys in post-Soviet Central Asia, in Gendered poverty and well-being, (ed.), Sh. Razavi, Oxford: Blackwell.
- Meurs, M. (2002), "Economic strategies of surviving post-socialism: changing household economies and gender divisions of labour in the Bulgarian transition", in Rainnie, A., Smith, A., Swain, A. (Eds),Work, Employment and Transition: Restructuring Livelihoods in Post-Communism, Routledge, London
- Pavlovskaya, M., (2004), Other Transitions: multiple economies of Moscow households in the 1990s, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 94(2): 329-351.
- Smith, A., (2002), Culture/economy: and spaces of economic practice: positioning households in post-communism, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Vol. 27(2): 232-250.
- A Smith, A Rochovská, (2007), Domesticating neo-liberalism: Everyday lives and the geographies of post-socialist transformations, Geoforum, 8(6): 1163-1178.
Lectures 16: Migration and Exile
This lecture follows directly on from those considering the changing nature of the workplace and the household in decentralised economies. The focus here shifts to migrants. After industries collapsed or were ‘restructured’, the numbers of migrants travelling to Europe in search of work increased sharply. The fragmentation of the Soviet motherland into its constituent republics (as nation-states) has left many (Russians in particular) feeling they are in exile. In the 1990s, there were vast movements of people, especially Russians and Germans, back to their historic motherlands. Many found themselves both in a worse economic condition than the countries they had left, and isolated, without the support of former work colleagues or neighbours. Some, by staying still, as states re-formed around them, feel themselves suddenly to be exiles as titular national groups assume power. New cosmopolitan elites constitute quite different transnational groups. Legacies of exile have also shaped some trading networks. Family members exiled during Stalin’s oppressions now sometimes form the necessary foreign links in the Middle East, China and Europe to keep commodity trading chains within the family.
- Agelopoulos, G., (2007), ‘The Coca-Cola Kashkaval Network: belonging and business in the postsocialist Balkans’ in Anthropology of East Europe Review, Symposium ‘Encounteres of the postsocialist kind: the movement of goods and identities within and beyond the former socialist world’, Vol: 25 (1): 42-52.
- Kaneff, D., (2009), ‘Poverty and Transnational Neoliberalism: The case of British migration to Bulgaria’ in Accession and Migration. Changing Policy, Society and Culture in an Enlarged Europe, (eds. J. Eade & Y. Valkanova), Surrey : Ashgate. (Chapter 5).
- Ong, A., (2002), Flexible citizenship among Chinese cosmopolitans, in The anthropology of politics: a reader in ethnography, theory, and critique, (ed.) J.Vincent, Oxford: Blackwell, pp 338-355
- Parrenas, R.S., (2005), ‘The Global Economy of Care’ in Children of Global Migration, Stanford : Stanford University Press. (Chapter 1).
- Brouwer, R., 2000, ‘Insecure at home: emigration and social security in northern Portugal’ in Coping with Insecurity, (eds) F. von Benda-Beckman; K. von Benda-Beckmann & H. Marks, Indonesia & The Netherlands: Pustaka Pelajar & Focaal Foundation.
- Ishkanian, A., (2002), Between Tragedy and Reality: Armenian Women’s Labor Migration in the Post-Soviet Period, Anthropology of East Europe Review 20(2).
- Hughes, D.M., (2000), The ‘Natasha’ Trade: The Transnational Shadow Market of Trafficking in Women, Journal of International Affairs 53(2):625-651.
- Hughes, D. M., (2005), Supplying Women for the Sex Industry: Trafficking from the Russian Federation, in Sexuality and Gender in Postcommunist Eastern Europe and Russia, ed. Aleksandar Štulhofer and Theo Sandfort, pp. 209-230. New York: Haworth Press.
- Pilkington H (1998) 'Going home? the implications of forced migration for national identity formation of post-soviet Russia', in The New Migration In Europe: Social Constructions and Social Realities, 85-108, (Eds.): Koser K, Lutz H., New York: St. Martin's Press.
- Pine, F., (1999), Incorporation and exclusion in the Podhale, in Lilies of the field: marginal people who live for the moment, Westview Press.
- Yessenova, S., (2005), Routes and Roots" of Kazakh Identity: Urban Migration in Postsocialist Kazakhstan, The Russian Review, vol.64(4): 661-79.
Date: 30th July 2010
Lectures: 17, 18, 19 and 20: Urban Spaces
Cities typically materialise broader socio-economic processes in a heightened form. This was particularly true of Soviet cities, once cast as the engine of ‘progress’. Since the Soviet Union fell, many such cities have been subjected to accelerated and violent economic adjustments creating extremes of wealth and poverty. But cities outside the former Soviet bloc are also experiencing similar effects from the intensified application of market principles to the remnants of welfare states. These four lectures explore many of the themes examined earlier through ethnographies of, and in, urban spaces. The particular themes are: planning, creative destruction, urban governance, post-industrial urban ghettos, coalitions of corporate and administrative interests, traces of previous socio-economic formations left behind on the built environment, changing values of spaces and housing, the rise and fall of markets – and how the recent economic crisis is in turn becoming inscribed upon the urban landscape, as prime urban land purchased by bankrupt developers in London and Almaty alike has been (temporarily) turned into community gardens. New forms of separation between rich and poor have resulted in wealthy gated communities on the one hand and shanty towns or deprived areas within supposedly wealthy, ‘world’ cities.
These lectures thus end by thinking of some of the common material legacies of decentralising economies. One example, is the large housing stock, often built as a temporary measure, using newly available technologies and materials (prefabricated concrete panels) after the war in response to bomb-damage and / or rapid urbanisation and industrialisation. In both western Europe and the former Soviet bloc, these temporary apartment blocks suggested that there was a common vision of a future where new technology, materials and political aesthetics would combine to materialise a new urban economy of provision for all. The elderly fabric is often crumbling. Responses have varied from privatisation, state management and enrolling the third sector.
- Alexander, C., (2007) Soviet and post-Soviet city planning: a case study from Almaty, Critique of Anthropology, 27(2), June 2007, pp165-182.
- Alexander, C., (2008) Waste under socialism and after: a case-study from Almaty, in Enduring Socialism: explorations of revolution, transformation and restoration, (eds.) H. West and P. Ramen, Oxford: Berghahn Books. Pp 148-168.
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Catherine Alexander is a Reader in Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London. After voluntary work and then working for central government in Britain and Turkey, she was trained in anthropology at the University of Cambridge. An economic and political anthropologist, her main interests are in property relations, urban anthropology, waste and the third sector. She has worked in Turkey, Britain and Kazakhstan. Among her books include Personal States: making connections between people and bureaucracy in Turkey (2002).
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