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Undoing and redoing (post)socialist housing: the politics of property, solidarity, and moral economy 
Emma Rimpiläinen (Uppsala University)
Laura Mafizzoli (University of Manchester)
Lois Kalb (European University Institute)
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Madeleine Reeves (University of Oxford)
Mengqi Wang (Duke Kunshan University)
Friday 26 July, -, -
Time zone: Europe/Madrid
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Short Abstract:

This panel focusses on housing as an object of property and a site for the interplay between property, sociality, and moral and political economies in late socialist and postsocialist societies. It asks: what do undoing and redoing housing entail in the (post)socialist space?

Long Abstract:

Housing has increasingly become an object of ethnographic attention, embedded in complex political and moral economies and shaping new interpretations of the interrelation between property and social relations. Considering the arguments that Soviet social relations were embedded in the materiality of housing and that Russia’s war in Ukraine is finally ending the “post-Soviet condition,” it is timely to explore processes of undoing and redoing housing in postsocialist contexts. As Xenia Cherkaev argues (2023), the Soviet planned economy guaranteed each citizen a share of collective entitlements, including housing understood as personal property. It functioned with the help of customary use-rights, framed in ethical terms as comradely solidarity. Consequently, we note that both undoing and redoing housing-as-property after the collapse of state socialism are fundamentally ethical processes as much as economic ones, postsocialist housing privatization being an illustrative example.

What kinds of social relations emerged from the moral economies of socialist housing, and how did they (not) transform with housing privatization? What impact does the physical destruction of housing stock, whether due to war, gentrification, or other processes, have on property relations and moral economies? Can a focus on the distinction between personal and private property help us reconceptualize housing and the social relationships it fosters? How can doing and redoing housing relate to decolonization in the postsocialist space? We welcome contributions that explore the interplay between property, sociality, and moral and political economies in late socialist and postsocialist societies, with an emphasis on what it entails to undo and redo housing.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Friday 26 July, 2024, -
Session 2 Friday 26 July, 2024, -