Synopses & Reviews
Lost in Transition tells of ordinary lives upended by the collapse of communism. Through ethnographic essays and short stories based on her experiences with Eastern Europe between 1989 and 2009, Kristen Ghodsee explains why it is that so many Eastern Europeans are nostalgic for the communist past. Ghodsee uses Bulgaria, the Eastern European nation where she has spent the most time, as a lens for exploring the broader transition from communism to democracy. She locates the growing nostalgia for the communist era in the disastrous, disorienting way that the transition was handled. The privatization process was contested and chaotic. A few well-connected foreigners and a new local class of oligarchs and criminals used the uncertainty of the transition process to take formerly state-owned assets for themselves. Ordinary people inevitably felt that they had been robbed. Many people lost their jobs just as the state social-support system disappeared. Lost in Transition portrays one of the most dramatic upheavals in modern history by describing the ways that it interrupted the rhythms of everyday lives, leaving confusion, frustration, and insecurity in its wake.
Short ethnographic essays and stories that document the social, political, and economic changes in everyday life in postsocialist Eastern Europe.
Through ethnographic essays and short stories based on her experiences in Eastern Europe between 1989 and 2009, Kristen Ghodsee explains why many Eastern Europeans are nostalgic for the communist past.
About the Author
Kristen Ghodsee is the Director and John S. Osterweis Associate Professor of Gender and Womenandrsquo;s Studies at Bowdoin College. She is the author of Muslim Lives in Eastern Europe: Gender, Ethnicity, and the Transformation of Islam in Postsocialist Bulgaria and The Red Riviera: Gender, Tourism, and Postsocialism on the Black Sea, also published by Duke University Press.
Table of Contents
Preface. Echoes Off the Iron Curtain ix
Introduction. The Road to Bulgaria, 1983and#8211;1990 1
1. Contraband, 1990 21
2. Kaloyan and Hristo, 1998 37
3. Her Lover in Cuba, 1999 47
4. Hair: Ethnographic Fiction 61
5. Shopaholic in Eastern Europe, 1998and#8211;2006 83
6. Carpets for Kilims, 1999 93
7. Comrades, 2107 101
8. Petar Hails a Cab: Ethnographic Fiction 107
9. Bassets in the Balkans, 2005 117
10. The Master of Conspiracies, 2005 123
11. An Explosion of Sofia, 2008 131
12. Coffee: Ethnographic Fiction 143
13. Kaloyan in Maine, 2009 151
14. Tito Trivia: Ethnographic Fiction 155
15. Pilgrims from Sofia to Zagreb, 2009 161
Afterword. Lost in Transition, 2010 177
Appendix. Timeline of Twentieth-Century Communism 195
Further Reading 201