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Frontiers of Civil Society
Government and Hegemony in Serbia
In Serbia, as elsewhere in postsocialist Europe, the rise of “civil society” was expected to support a smooth transformation to Western models of liberal democracy and capitalism. More than twenty years after the Yugoslav wars, these expectations appear largely unmet. Frontiers of Civil Society asks why, exploring the roles of multiple civil society forces in a set of government “reforms” of society and individuals in the early 2010s, and examining them in the broader context of social struggles over neoliberal restructuring and transnational integration.
Area: Central/Eastern Europe
How Clientelism, Citizenship, and Power Shape Personhood in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Why do people turn to personal connections to get things done? Exploring the role of favors in social welfare systems in postwar, postsocialist Bosnia and Herzegovina, this volume provides a new theoretical angle on links between ambiguity and power. It demonstrates that favors were not an instrumental tactic of survival, nor a way to reproduce oneself as a moral person. Instead, favors enabled the insertion of personal compassion into the heart of the organization of welfare.
Managing Ambiguity follows how neoliberal insistence on local community, flexibility, and self-responsibility was translated into clientelist modes of relating and back, and how this fostered a specific mode of power.
Area: Southern Europe
Narratives in the Making
Writing the East German Past in the Democratic Present
Despite the three decades that have passed since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the historical narrative of East Germany is hardly fixed in public memory, as German society continues to grapple with the legacies of the Cold War. This fascinating ethnography looks at two very different types of local institutions in one eastern German state that take divergent approaches to those legacies: while publicly funded organizations reliably cast the GDR as a dictatorship, a main regional newspaper offers a more ambivalent perspective colored by the experiences and concerns of its readers. As author Anselma Gallinat shows, such memory work—initially undertaken after fundamental regime change—inevitably shapes citizenship and democracy in the present.
Subjects: Postwar History General Anthropology
Parallel Lives Revisited
Mediterranean Guest Workers and their Families at Work and in the Neighbourhood, 1960-1980
Bock, J. De
Originally coined in 2001 in a report on racial tensions in the United Kingdom, the concept of “parallel lives” has become familiar in the European discourse on immigrant integration. There, it refers to what is perceived as the segregation of immigrant populations from the rest of society. However, the historical roots of this presumed segregation are rarely the focus of discussion. Combining quantitative analysis, archival research, and over one hundred oral history interviews, Parallel Lives Revisited explores the lives of immigrants from six Mediterranean countries in a postwar Belgian city to provide a fascinating account of how their experiences of integration have changed at work and in their neighborhoods across two decades.
Fahlenbrach, K., Klimke, M., & Scharloth, J. (eds)
Protest is a ubiquitous and richly varied social phenomenon, one that finds expression not only in modern social movements and political organizations but also in grassroots initiatives, individual action, and creative works. It constitutes a distinct cultural domain, one whose symbolic content is regularly deployed by media and advertisers, among other actors. Yet within social movement scholarship, such cultural considerations have been comparatively neglected. Protest Cultures: A Companion dramatically expands the analytical perspective on protest beyond its political and sociological aspects. It combines cutting-edge synthetic essays with concise, accessible case studies on a remarkable array of protest cultures, outlining key literature and future lines of inquiry.
Subjects: Sociology Postwar History
Legacies of Militarization and Militarism in a Rural Guatemalan Town
Although the Guatemalan Civil War ended more than two decades ago, its bloody legacy continues to resonate even today. In Silenced Communities, author Marcia Esparza offers an ethnographic account of the failed demilitarization of the rural militia in the town of Santo Tomás Chichicastenango following the conflict. Combining insights from postcolonialism, subaltern studies, and theories of internal colonialism, Esparza explores the remarkable resilience of ideologies and practices engendered in the context of the Cold War, demonstrating how the lingering effects of grassroots militarization affect indigenous communities that continue to struggle with inequality and marginalization.
Subjects: Peace & Conflict Studies Postwar History
Area: Latin America
Reproducing the Nation and the Scandinavian Nationalist Populist Parties
In Scandinavia, there is separation in the electorate between those who embrace diversity and those who wish for tighter bonds between people and nation. This book focuses on three nationalist populist parties in Scandinavia—the Sweden Democrats, the Progress Party in Norway, and the Danish People’s Party. In order to affect domestic politics by addressing this conflict of diversity versus homogeneity, these parties must enter the national parliament while earning the nation’s trust. Of the three, the Sweden Democrats have yet to earn the trust of the mainstream, leading to polarized and emotionally driven public debate that raises the question of national identity and what is understood as the common man.
Subjects: Sociology Postwar History
Area: Northern Europe