Solovyovo: The Story of Memory in a Russian Village (Woodrow Wilson Center Press)

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9780253218018: Solovyovo: The Story of Memory in a Russian Village (Woodrow Wilson Center Press)
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In a small village beside a reed-lined lake in the Russian north, a cluster of farmers has lived for centuries―in the time of tsars and feudal landlords; Bolsheviks and civil wars; collectivization and socialism; perestroika and open markets. Solovyovo is about the place and power of social memory. Based on extensive anthropological fieldwork in that single village, it shows how villagers configure, transmit, and enact social memory through narrative genres, religious practice, social organization, commemoration, and the symbolism of space. Margaret Paxson relates present-day beliefs, rituals, and practices to the remembered traditions articulated by her informants. She brings to life the everyday social and agricultural routines of the villagers as well as holiday observances, religious practices, cosmology, beliefs and practices surrounding health and illness, the melding of Orthodox and communist traditions and their post-Soviet evolution, and the role of the yearly calendar in regulating village lives. The result is a compelling ethnography of a Russian village, the first of its kind in modern, North American anthropology.

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Review:

While Paxson's book explains the memory of landscape of Russian peasants, and by extension Russian culture more generally, I recommend it to anyone interested in human beings and who like to read good books.April 2009 Source: Slavonic and East European Review

. . . a remarkable achievement. . . . the best ethnographic study of Russian country people available today. Author: Caroline Humphrey Source: TLS

The book, based on in-depth participant-observation and interviews in the mid-1990s, presents in arresting imagery the everyday life of a northwestern Russian village the author calls Solovyovo. It paints the kind of memorable tableaux that one might expect from a talented novelist, and in this sense it indeed weaves a kind of story . . . .Engaged readers. . . will find a great deal of value and subtlety in Paxson's story.Vol. 36.3 August 2009 Author: Jennifer Patico Source: Georgia State University

Review:

. . . would be of great interest to scholars from a wide range of discipines―anthropology, cultural studies, history, and political science. It would be of great value for scholars of Russia and those working on other settings, who are bound to draw rich insight and material for comparative analysis from this important book Source: Asia Studies 59:7 (rec'd 1/08)

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9780253346544: Solovyovo (Woodrow Wilson Center Press S.): The Story of Memory in a Russian Village

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