Masquerade and Postsocialism

Masquerade and Postsocialism

Ritual and Cultural Dispossession in Bulgaria
Creed, Gerald W.
Distribution: World
Publication date: 01/24/2011
Format: Paperback 21 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-22261-9
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2012 William A. Douglass Prize in Europeanist AnthropologyWinner, John D. Bell 2012 Memorial Book Prize of the Bulgarian Studies Association

Gerald W. Creed analyzes contemporary mumming rituals in rural Bulgaria for what they reveal about life after socialism—and the current state of postsocialist studies. Mumming rituals have flourished in the post-Soviet era. Elaborately costumed dancers go from house to house demanding sustenance and bestowing blessings. Through the analysis of these rites, Creed critiques key themes in postsocialist studies, including understandings of civil society and democracy, gender and sexuality, autonomy and community, and ethnicity and nationalism. He argues that these events reveal indigenous cultural resources that could have been used both practically and intellectually to ease the postsocialist reconstruction of Bulgarian society, but were not.

Author Bio

Gerald W. Creed is Professor of Anthropology at Hunter College and the City University of New York Graduate Center, where he is Executive Officer of the Anthropology Program. He is author of Domesticating Revolution: From Socialist Reform to Ambivalent Transition in a Bulgarian Village.


Masterfully investigates the contemporary performance of distinctive . . . mumming rites as a means of interrogating postsocialism. . . . Accessible, engaging, and strong.Brilliant . . . . An outstanding demonstration of how analysis of the paradoxes of the postsocialist condition can contribute to anthropological theory and to the critique of Euro-American notions of modernity.

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Table of Contents


Introduction: Cultural Dispossession
1. A Mumming Season
2. Gender and Sexuality
3. Civil Society and Democracy
4. Autonomy and Community
5. Ethnicity and Nationalism
Conclusion: Modernity in Drag

Works Cited

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