When the Berlin Wall fell, people who lived along the dismantled border found their lives drastically and rapidly transformed. Daphne Berdahl, through ongoing ethnographic research in a former East German border village, explores the issues of borders and borderland identities that have accompanied the many transitions since 1990. What happens to identity and personhood, she asks, when a political and economic system collapses overnight? How do people negotiate and manipulate a liminal condition created by the disappearance of a significant frame of reference? Berdahl concentrates especially on how these changes have affected certain "border zones" of daily life—including social organization, gender, religion, and nationality—in a place where literal, indeed concrete, borders were until recently a very powerful presence. Borders, she argues, are places of ambiguity as well as of intense lucidity; these qualities may in fact be mutually constitutive. She shows how, in a moment of headlong historical transformation, larger political, economic, and social processes are manifested locally and specifically. In the process of a transition between two German states, people have invented, and to some extent ritualized, cultural practices that both reflect and constitute profound identity transformations in a period of intense social discord. Where the World Ended combines a vivid ethnographic account of everyday life under socialist rule and after German reunification with an original investigation of the paradoxical human condition of a borderland.
Anthropologist Daphne Berdahl was one of the leading scholars of the transition from state socialism to capitalism in central and eastern Europe. From her pathbreaking ethnography of a former East German border village in the aftermath of German reunification, to her insightful analyses of consumption, nostalgia, and citizenship in the early 21st century, Berdahl's writings probe the contradictions, paradoxes, and ambiguities of postsocialism as few observers have done. This volume brings together her essays, from an early study of memory at the Vietnam War memorial in Washington, D.C., to research on consumption and citizenship undertaken in Leipzig in the years before her untimely death. It serves as a superb introduction to the development of the field of postsocialist cultural studies.
The changes that followed the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 were particularly dramatic for East Germans. With the German Democratic Republic effectively taken over by West Germany in the reunification process, nothing in their lives was immune from change and upheaval: from the way they voted, the newspapers they read, to the brand of butter they bought. But what was it really like to go from living under communism one minute, to capitalism the next? What did the East Germans make of capitalism? And how do they remember the GDR today? Are their memories dominated by fear and loathing of the Stasi state, or do they look back with a measure of fondness and regret on a world of guaranteed employment and low living costs? This is the story of eight citizens of the former German Democratic Republic, and how these dramatic changes affected them. All of the people in the book were born in East Germany after the Berlin Wall was put up in August 1961, so they knew nothing other than living in a socialist system when the GDR fell apart. Their stories provide a fascinating insight not only into everyday life in East Germany, but also into how this now-vanished state is remembered today, a quarter of a century after the fall of the Wall.
DIVA fascinating exploration of how social memory serves to hinder communication and foster disorder in Northern Ireland /div
Time and the Other is a classic work that critically reexamined the relationship between anthropologists and their subjects and reoriented the approach literary critics, philosophers, and historians took to the study of humankind. Johannes Fabian challenges the assumption that anthropologists live in the "here and now," that their subjects live in the "there and then," and that the "other" exists in a time not contemporary with our own. He also pinpoints the emergence, transformation, and differentiation of a variety of uses of time in the history of anthropology that set specific parameters between power and inequality. In this edition, a new postscript by the author revisits popular conceptions of the "other" and the attempt to produce and represent knowledge of other(s).
A Companion to Border Studies introduces an excitingand expanding field of interdisciplinary research, through thewriting of an international array of scholars, from diverseperspectives that include anthropology, development studies,geography, history, political science and sociology. Explores how nations and cultural identities are beingtransformed by their dynamic, shifting borders where mobility issometimes facilitated, other times impeded or prevented Offers an array of international views which together form anauthoritative guide for students, instructors and researchers Reflects recent significant growth in the importance ofunderstanding the distinctive characteristics of borders andfrontiers, including cross-border cooperation, security andcontrols, migration and population displacements, hybridity, andtransnationalism
In The Land of Weddings and Rain, Gediminas Lankauskas examines the components of the contemporary urban wedding – religious and civil ceremonies, “traditional” imagery and practices, and the conspicuous consumption of domestic and imported goods – in the context of the Western-style modernization of post-socialist Lithuania. Studying the tensions between “tradition” and “modernity” that surround this important ritual event, Lankauskas highlights the ways in which nationalism serves to negotiate the impact of modernity in the aftermath of state socialism’s collapse. His analysis also shows the importance of consumption and commodification to Lithuania’s ongoing “Westernization.” Based on more than a decade of ethnographic research, The Land of Weddings and Rain is a fascinating account of the tensions – between national and transnational, East and West, and old and new – that shape life in post-socialist Eastern Europe.
Memorylands is an original and fascinating investigation of the nature of heritage, memory and understandings of the past in Europe today. It looks at how Europe has become a ’memoryland’ – littered with material reminders of the past, such as museums, heritage sites and memorials; and at how this ‘memory phenomenon’ is related to the changing nature of identities – especially European, national and cosmopolitan. In doing so, it provides new insights into how memory and the past are being performed and reconfigured in Europe – and with what effects. Drawing especially, though not exclusively, on cases, concepts and arguments from social and cultural anthropology, Memorylands argues for a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the cultural assumptions involved in relating to the past. It theorizes the various ways in which ‘materializations’ of identity work and relates these to different forms of identification within Europe. The book also addresses questions of methodology, including discussion of historical, ethnographic, interdisciplinary and innovative methods. Through a wide-range of case-studies from across Europe, Sharon Macdonald argues that Europe is home to a much greater range of ways of making the past present than is usually realized – and a greater range of forms of ‘historical consciousness’. At the same time, however, she seeks to highlight what she calls ‘the European memory complex’ – a repertoire of prevalent patterns in forms of recollection and ‘past presencing’. The examples in Memorylands are drawn from both the margins and metropolitan centres, from the relatively small-scale and local, the national and the avant-garde. The book looks at pasts that are potentially identity-disrupting – or ‘difficult’ – as well as those that affirm identities or offer possibilities for transcending national identities or articulating more cosmopolitan futures. Topics covered include authenticity, temporalities, embodiment, commodification, nostalgia and Ostalgie, the musealization of everyday and folk-life, Holocaust commemoration and tourism, narratives of war, the heritage of Islam, transnationalism, and the future of the past. Memorylands is engagingly written and accessible to general readers as well as offering a new synthesis for advanced researchers in memory and heritage studies. It is essential reading for those interested in identities, memory, material culture, Europe, tourism and heritage.
This book reassesses Putin's attempt to reverse the decentralization of power that characterised centre-regional relations in the 1990s, focusing on regional responses to Putin's federal reforms. It explains the decline of regionalism after 2000 in terms of the dynamics of regional boundaries, understood as the juridical boundaries which demarcate a region's territorial extent and its resources; institutional boundaries that sustain regional differences; and cultural boundaries that define the ethnic or technocratic principles on which a region could claim legitimate existence. The book questions the conventional wisdom regarding the success of Putin's regime. It shows how regional governors responded not by attempting to deflect the reforms with outright resistance, but by mimicking Putin's centralisation of power at the regional level. In turn, this facilitated the homogenisation of regional political regimes and regional mergers. The book demonstrates how the reordering of regions advanced sporadically, how pockets of resistance persist, and how the potential for the revival of regionalism continues.