P031
Postsocialism and anthropology: theoretical legacies and European futures

Convenors:
Anselma Gallinat (Newcastle University)
Haldis Haukanes (University of Bergen)
Frances Pine (Goldsmiths College, University of London)
Discussant:
Frances Pine
Stream:
Panels
Location:
U6-3
Start time:
20 July, 2016 at 14:30
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

The panel seeks to explore the contributions which the anthropologies of postsocialism have made to social and cultural theory, the implications of these contributions to European future/s and the question of the theoretical utility of the concept of 'postsocialism' twenty-five years on.

Long abstract:

The end of the Cold War and the fall of the socialist states not only intensified anthropological research in the region but also offered the opportunity to explore accelerated change as it took place. The number of volumes on 'postsocialism' which appeared from the early 1990s testifies to the amount of work that was taking place and to the sense of an opportunity to develop anthropological theory. Yet, questions still remain about the contributions made by anthropological work in the last two decades, as much of the research has focused on ethnographic detail and the individual rather than on explorations of wider social and cultural phenomena. Twenty-five years 'after socialism', it seems apt to take stock and to consider wider lessons - about the dynamics of fundamental regime-change, 'accelerated history', the rapid development of free-market democracies, the articulation (or disarticulation) of the formerly socialist economies with global capitalism - to be learned from the rich ethnographic work conducted in the region. The question of what the theoretical legacies of this work may be is intimately tied to the question of 'what next' for the former socialist bloc and more widely for Europe and, indeed, whether the concept of 'postsocialism' still has validity. Papers are invited which consider the contributions which the anthropologies of postsocialism have made to social and cultural theory, explore the implications of these contributions to European future/s and the question of the theoretical utility of the concept of 'postsocialism' a quarter of a century on.