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Symbolic Traces of Communist Legacy in Post-Socialist Hungary

Experiences of a Generation that Lived During the Socialist Era

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Lisa Pope Fischer

In Symbolic Traces of Communist Legacy in Post-socialist Hungary, Lisa Pope Fischer shows how personal practices symbolically refurbish elements from the Communist era to fit present-day challenges. A generation who lived through the socialist period adapt to post-socialist Hungary in a global context. Life histories weave together case studies of gift giving, procurement strategies, harvest ritual, healthcare, and socialist kitsch to illustrate turns towards mysticism, neo-traditionalism, nostalgia, nationalism, and shifts in time-place. People’s unrequited past longing for future possibilities of a Western society facilitate desires for a lost way of life. Not only does this work gain understanding of an aging population’s life experiences and the politics of everyday practices, but also social change in a modern global world.

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Oto Luthar

This volume presents a series of chapters about the Great War and memory in Central and South-Eastern Europe which will widen the insufficient and spotty representations of the Great War in that region.
The contributors deliver an important addition to present-day scholarship on the more or less unknown war in the Balkans and at the Italian fronts. Although it might not completely fill the striking gap in the historical representations of the situation between the Slovene-Italian Soča-Isonzo river in the North-West and the Greek-Macedonian border mountains around Mount Kajmakčalan in the South-East, it will add significantly to the scholarship on the Balkan theatre of war and provide a much-needed account of the suffering of civilians, ideas, loyalties and cultural hegemonies, as well as memories and the post-war memorial landscape.

The contributors are Vera Gudac Dodić, Silviu Hariton, Vijoleta Herman Kaurić, Oto Luthar, Olga Manojlović Pintar, Ahmed Pašić, Ignác Romsics,
Daniela Schanes, Fabio Todero, Nikolai Vukov and Katharina Wesener.

Communism and Consumerism

The Soviet Alternative to the Affluent Society

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Edited by Timo Vihavainen and Elena Bogdanova

Consumption in Russia and the former USSR has been lately studied as regards the pre-revolutionary and early Soviet period. The history of Soviet consumption and the Soviet variety of consumerism in the 1950s-1990s has hardly been studied at all. This book concentrates on the late Soviet period but it also considers pre-WWII and even pre-revolutionary times.The book consists of articles, which survey the longue durée of Russian and Soviet consumer attitudes, Soviet ideology of consumption as indicated in texts concerning fashion, the world of Soviet fashion planning and the survival strategies of the Soviet consumer complaining against sub-standard goods and services in a command economy. There's also a case study concerning the uses of concepts with anti-consumerist content.

Contributors include: Lena Bogdanova, Olga Gurova, Timo Vihavainen and Larissa Zakharova.

Arts and a Nation

The Role of Visual Arts and Artists in the Making of the Latvian Identity, 1905-1940

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Suzanne Pourchier-Plasseraud

Focusing on the role of arts in the construction of national identity, Suzanne Pourchier-Plasseraud has chosen to study the case of a country lacking an ancient state history of its own, Latvia. This book analyses the part played by the visual arts in transmuting the cultural concept of a nation, advocated by a small intelligentsia, into a widespread claim for independence. By the end of the 19th century, fretting under Russian political domination and German economic and cultural supremacy, the Latvians turned back to their own language, culture and folklore, with a special interest for their dainas, their timeless common heritage rooted into a mythical golden age. Latvian artists thus found themselves entrusted with the mission of creating a national iconographic representation and a specifically Latvian art, freed from Russian and German influences. The author shows how the links between the cultural and political spheres evolved between 1905 and 1940, including during the period of authoritarian government preceding WWII. An enlightening contribution to understanding how art and history can be turned into social and political instruments, this book reaches far beyond the Latvian case to a European and even global scope.

Irena Veisaitė

Tolerance and involvement

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Yves Plasseraud

Irena Veisaitė is held in deep esteem throughout her country. This volume is an attempt to relate the difficult journey of her remarkable life against the backdrop of the complex history of Lithuania and its Litvaks (Lithuanian Jews).
After being rescued by Christian Lithuanian families and having survived the Holocaust Irena Veisaitė devoted herself to study and creative work. She was a memorable lecturer, respected theatre critic, associate film director, and also founder and chairman of the Open Society Fund (Soros Foundation) which made an invaluable contribution to the process of democratisation in Lithuania.
Irena Veisaitė made it her life’s work to speak up for dialogue and mutual understanding and believes that even in the most difficult circumstances it is possible to preserve one’s humanity. Having lived through some of the major atrocities of the twentieth century, her insistence on the need for tolerance has inspired many.

Latin at the Crossroads of Identity

The Evolution of Linguistic Nationalism in the Kingdom of Hungary

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Gábor Almási and Lav Šubarić

From the late 18th century in the multi-ethnic Kingdom of Hungary, new language-based national identities came to dominate over those that had previously been constructed on legal, territorial, or historical basis. While the Hungarian language struggled to emancipate itself, the roles and functions of Latin (the official language until 1844) were changing dramatically. Latin held a different significance for varying segments of society, from being the essential part of an individual identity to representing an obstacle to “national survival”; from guaranteeing harmony between the different linguistic communities to hindering change, social and political justice. This pioneering volume aims to highlight the ways language debates about Latin and Hungarian contributed to the creation of new identities and ideologies in Central Europe.

Contributors include Gábor Almási, Per Pippin Aspaas, Piroska Balogh, Henrik Hönich, László Kontler, István Margócsy, Alexander Maxwell, Ambrus Miskolczy, Levente Nagy, Nenad Ristović, Andrea Seidler, Teodora Shek Brnardić, Zvjezdana Sikirić Assouline, and Lav Šubarić

Managing Invisibility

Dissimulation and Identity Maintenance among Alevi Bulgarian Turks

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Hande Sözer

In Managing Invisibility, Hande Sözer examines complicated invisibilities of Alevi Bulgarian Turks, a double-minority which faces structural discrimination in Bulgaria and Turkey. While the literature portrays minorities’ visibility as a requirement for their empowerment or a source of their surveillance, the book argues that for such minorities what matters is their control over their own visibility. To make this point, it focuses on the concept protective dissimulation, a strategy of self-imposed invisibility. It discusses cases indicating Alevi Bulgarian Turks’ strategies of dealing with historically changing majorities in their larger societies and argues that dissimulation actually reinforces the intergroup distinctions for the minority’s members. The data for the book was gathered during 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Bulgaria and Turkey.

Mirroring Europe

Ideas of Europe and Europeanization in Balkan Societies

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Edited by Tanja Petrović

Mirroring Europe offers refreshing insight into the ways Europe is imagined, negotiated and evoked in Balkan societies in the time of their accession to the European Union. Until now, visions of Europe from the southeast of the continent have been largely overlooked. By examining political and academic discourses, cultural performances, and memory practices, this collection destabilizes supposedly clear and firm division of the continent into East and West, ‘old’ and ‘new’ Europe, ‘Europe’ and ‘still-not-Europe’. The essays collected here show Europe to be a dynamic, multifaceted, contested idea built on values, images and metaphors that are widely shared across such geographic and ideological frontiers.

Contributors are: Čarna Brković, Ildiko Erdei, Ana Hofman, Fabio Mattioli, Marijana Mitrović, Nermina Mujagić, Orlanda Obad, and Tanja Petrović.

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Mark Pittaway

Edited by Adam Fabry

From the Vanguard to the Margins is dedicated to the work of the late British historian, Dr Mark Pittaway (1971-2010), a prominent scholar of post-war and contemporary Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Breaking with orthodox readings on Eastern bloc regimes, which remain wedded to the 'totalitarianism' paradigm of the Cold War era, the essays in this volume shed light on the contradictory historical and social trajectory of 'real socialism' in the region.

Mainstream historiography has presented Stalinist parties as 'omnipotent', effectively stripping workers and society in general of its 'relative autonomy'. Building on an impressive amount of archive material, Pittaway convincingly shows how dynamics of class, gender, skill level, and rural versus urban location, shaped politics in the period. The volume also offers novel insights on historical and sociological roots of fascism in Hungary and the politics of legitimacy in the Austro-Hungarian borderlands.

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Thomas M. Twiss

During the twentieth century the problem of post-revolutionary bureaucracy emerged as the most pressing theoretical and political concern confronting Marxism. No one contributed more to the discussion of this question than Leon Trotsky. In Trotsky and the Problem of Soviet Bureaucracy, Thomas M. Twiss traces the development of Trotsky’s thinking on this issue from the first years after the Bolshevik Revolution through the Moscow Trials of the 1930s. Throughout, he examines how Trotsky’s perception of events influenced his theoretical understanding of the problem, and how Trotsky’s theory reciprocally shaped his analysis of political developments. Additionally, Twiss notes both strengths and weaknesses of Trotsky’s theoretical perspective at each stage in its development.