Social differentiation, poverty and the emergence of the newly rich occasioned by the collapse of the Soviet Union have seldom been analysed from a class perspective. Rethinking Class in Russia addresses this absence by exploring the manner in which class positions are constructed and negotiated in the new Russia. Bringing an ethnographic and cultural studies approach to the topic, this book demonstrates that class is a central axis along which power and inequality are organized in Russia, revealing how symbolic, cultural and emotional dimensions are deeply intertwined with economic and material inequalities. Thematically arranged and presenting the latest empirical research, this interdisciplinary volume brings together work from both Western and Russian scholars on a range of spheres and practices, including popular culture, politics, social policy, consumption, education, work, family and everyday life. By engaging with discussions in new class analysis and by highlighting how the logic of global neoliberal capitalism is appropriated and negotiated vis-Ã -vis the Soviet hierarchies of value and worth, this book offers a multifaceted and carefully contextualized picture of class relations and identities in contemporary Russia and makes a contribution to the theorisation of class and inequality in a post-Cold War era. As such it will appeal to those with interests in sociology, anthropology, geography, political science, gender studies, Russian and Eastern European studies, and media and cultural studies.
Suvi Salmenniemi is a postdoctoral fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki, Finland, and author of Democratization and Gender in Contemporary Russia
'Tackling one of the most difficult questions in contemporary Russian Studies, this collection asks: "What is the meaning of 'class ' in post-socialist society?" Drawing on extensive empirical research, individual contributors generate a rich and diverse picture of the lived experience of class in contemporary Russia. The volume is an excellent contribution to our understanding of why and how class still matters.' Hilary Pilkington, University of Warwick, UK 'This book is a valuable contribution to the literature on social inequality and transformation in Russia and beyond. The volume presents a rich array of perspectives on class identities and practices, with a focus on qualitative approaches (primarily interview data) and with attention to working class, middle class, and (to a lesser extent) elite experiences... this is a rich collection that should be relevant for scholars of Russia and of class transformation more broadly.' The Russian Review 'The contributors provide teasing glimpses of how class or, more accurately, stratification, operates in multiple ways. Postsocialist inequality remains important but understudied, and this book provides useful fodder for thinking more creatively and broadly about this topic, which is fine for undergraduates first studying this subject or for more advanced scholars tackling these issues for the first time. I intend to make use of this book the next time I teach my course on postsocialism.' Slavic Review 'The book can be relied on to describe many relatively unexplored and little known aspects of contemporary Russian society. The chapters are well written and all have extensive references to further reading, with some useful pointers to Russian research. ... This book provides the reader with some good accounts based on original research of the social changes in Russia following the post-Communist transformation.' Slavonica