Crisis and the Everyday in Postsocialist Moscow

Crisis and the Everyday in Postsocialist Moscow

Olga Shevchenko
Distribution: World
Publication date: 12/17/2008
Format: Paperback 9 b&w photos
ISBN: 978-0-253-22028-8
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Winner, 2009 Heldt Prize, Assn. for Women in Slavic StudiesWinner, Davis Center Book Prize

In this ethnography of postsocialist Moscow in the late 1990s, Olga Shevchenko draws on interviews with a cross-section of Muscovites to describe how people made sense of the acute uncertainties of everyday life, and the new identities and competencies that emerged in response to these challenges. Ranging from consumption to daily rhetoric, and from urban geography to health care, this study illuminates the relationship between crisis and normality and adds a new dimension to the debates about postsocialist culture and politics.

Author Bio

Olga Shevchenko is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Williams College.


“Elegantly written and insightful, [this book] offers important new understandings of the struggles and strategies that Russians undertake to manage life amidst post-Soviet transition”
 — Michele Rivkin-Fish , author of Women's Health in Post-Soviet Russia

“A sensitive, thoughtful, and compelling portrait of life in Moscow during the final years of the last century by an observer who truly knows whereof she speaks. This is ethnography at its best.”
 — Kai Erikson, William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor Emeritus of Sociology and American Studies, Yale University

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Table of Contents


1. Introduction: Living on a Volcano
2. How the Crisis of Socialism Became a Postsocialist Crisis
3. A State of Emergency: The Lived Experience of Postsocialist Decline
4. The Routinization of Crisis, or On the Permanence of Temporary Conditions
5. Permanent Crisis, Durable Goods
6. Building Autonomy in Everyday Life
7. What Changes When Life Stands Still
8. Conclusion

Appendix 1. Methodology
Appendix 2. List of Respondents
Appendix 3. List of Interviewed Experts
Appendix 4. Discussion Topics
Works Cited