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Abstract

This article reviews recent ethnographic works on the former Soviet Union, Eastern and Central Europe, and Mongolia that explore the experiences of people enduring drastic transformations following the collapse of socialism in 1990 and the consequent implementation of a neoliberal “shock therapy.” The anthropologists working on postsocialist societies have shown that transition theories are inherently faulty and their implementation often had damaging results. The current condition is not a period of transition or “bridge” between socialism and capitalism. Instead individuals’ activities, memory, social networks, and culturally specific values lead to uncertainty as a state of dynamic being. This article argues that uncertainty is a complex conceptual space that offers further opportunities to step away from the evolutionary mode of thinking and to develop theories of multiple ways of being.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.anthro.37.081407.085214
2008-10-21
2024-04-15
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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.anthro.37.081407.085214
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  • Article Type: Review Article
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