The end of the Cold War unleashed transformations that have reshaped the political, ideological, economic, and social landscapes in Central and Eastern Europe. Global capitalism and its local anchors, new state machineries embracing models from liberal democracies to nationalist authoritarianism, and organized or disorganized social reactions are coalescing in various durable or transient configurations of social hierarchies and inequalities. The course will investigate interpretations of the political, social and scholarly debates that address the post-Cold-War construction and experiences of inequalities across various axes of power and domination. Central and Eastern Europe will be viewed both as a location and subject of explaining the sources, manifestations, and logic of producing, legitimizing, and resisting to outstanding forms of inequalities.
Class discussion will highlight transformations in global capitalism that have saliently effected Central and Eastern Europe since the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Inquiries will be reviewed that contemplate on state practices emerging through welfare concepts and systems but also through various regulatory and disciplinary regimes. Debates concerning the alleged tradeoffs and the intersections between socio-economic and ‘identity’ based marginalization and struggles will also be studied. Societal reactions, popular imagination, coping mechanisms, and citizens’ actions will also be discussed.
The course primarily reviews anthropological or anthropologically informed interpretations of inequality mechanisms and debates by linking the field to sociological, historical, and political science scholarship as well. The knowledge to be built during the course will generate comparative insights without promising a balanced and thorough ‘regional’ overview.