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Dropping out of Socialism


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Table of Contents

Introduction: To Drop or Not to Drop?, Juliane Furst Part I: Dropping Out in Spirit Chapter 1: The Biography of a Scandal: Experimenting with Yoga during Romanian Late Socialism, Irina Costache Chapter 2: The Imaginary Elsewhere of the Hippies in Soviet Estonia, Terje Toomistu Chapter 3: Art and "Madness": Weapons of the Marginal during Socialism in Eastern Europe, Maria-Alina Asavei Chapter 4: Student Activists and Yugoslavia's Islamic Revival: Sarajevo, 1970-1975, Madigan Andrea Fichter Part II: Intellectual Dropping Out Chapter 5: Reader Questionnaires in Samizdat Journals: Who Owns Aleksandr Blok?, Josephine von Zitzewitz Chapter 6: The Spirit of Pacifism: Social and Cultural Origins of the Grassroots Peace Movement in the Late Soviet Period, Irina Gordeeva Chapter 7: Dropping Out of Socialism with the Commodore 64: Polish Youth, Home Computers, and Social Identities, Patryk Wasiak Part III: Dropping Out in Style Chapter 8: "We All Live in a Yellow Submarine": Dropping Out in a Leningrad Commune, Juliane Furst Chapter 9: Ignoring Dictatorship? Punk Rock, Subculture, and Entanglement in the GDR, Jeff Hayton Chapter 10: "Under Any Form of Government, I Am Partisan": The Siberian Underground from Anti-Soviet to National-Bolshevist Provocation, Ewgeniy Kasakow Part IV: Dropping Out Economics Chapter 11: Living in the Material World: Money in the Soviet Rock Underground, Anna Kan Chapter 12: Socialism's Empty Promise: Housing Vacancy and Squatting in the German Democratic Republic, Peter Angus Mitchell Conclusion: Dropping Out of Socialism? A Western Perspective, Joachim Haberlen

About the Author

Juliane Furst is senior lecturer in twentieth-century history at the University of Bristol. Josie McLellan is reader in modern European history at the University of Bristol.


Many of these essays could be successfully employed as introductory material for undergraduate and graduate courses in history, anthropology, and literature, and they can also help provide a useful background to introduce more recent political processes in the area. . . . Dropping Out of Socialism constitutes an important step toward the creation of international and interdisciplinary collaborations for the study of an importan [sic] subject, which clearly needs to be explored further in all of its complex ramifications. * The Russian Review *
Coeditors Furst and McLellan have edited a new collection of essays that illuminate the diverse ways that citizens of the Soviet Union and East European countries did not conform to the expectations of communist society during the second half of the 20th century. The 12 essays are engaging and show a side of late socialist society that has not been fully explored by scholars before. Part I includes essays on yoga in Romania, hippies in Estonia, and student activists in Yugoslavia. Part II addresses smuggled literature (samizdat) and peace movements in the Soviet Union. One of the most intriguing essays addresses the use of Commodore 64 computers during the 1980s in Poland and how that had an impact on late Cold War politics. The five chapters in the last two sections explore an eclectic range of rebellious movements, including living in communes, punk rock music, and squatting in housing developments. This is an imaginative collection of essays that sheds new light on how at least some people lived in the last decades of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All academic levels/libraries. * CHOICE *
The relativization of the east-west divide, without obliterating the differences between alternative practices on two sides of the Iron Curtain, is a welcome feature of this book, in part reflecting the inspiration and influence of Alexei Yurchak's seminal work on late socialist (late Soviet) subjectivity and culture. . . there remains much to learn from and appreciate about the theoretical, historiographic, and ethnographic contributions of this book to the study of the former Soviet Bloc. * Slavic Review *
Focusing on various forms of self-consciously alternative cultures that formed in Eastern Europe under communist rule, this innovative collection of essays explores practices which cannot be framed in the familiar terms of dissidence and loyalty. Eschewing politics-at least in the terms which had been drawn up by the regime-hippies in Estonia, East German punks, followers of 'Eastern' gurus and aesthetics in Romania and Yugoslavia, enthusiasts for home computing in Poland and others found their own ways of 'dropping out.' But, as the authors of the vivid and well-researched studies in this anthology demonstrate, alterity required the norms which had been defined by the state and its resources. Sensitive to the subtle meanings of language and gesture, lifestyle, and dress; skilled interpreters of the codes of official media and secret police reports; and alert to the distortions of post-socialist memory, these scholars reconstruct the lives and attitudes of fascinating and often forgotten communities. -- David Crowley, Royal College of Art

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