|"Negotiating Normality. Everyday Lives in Socialist Institutions"|
|Author||Daniela Koleva (Editor)|
|Publisher||Brunswick and London: Transaction Publishers, 2012|
The contributors to Negotiating Normality are nationals and residents of post-socialist countries. Socialism is part of their family memory, even part of their own life experiences. For them the topic of socialism is authentic and ironic. It is authentic in that it is based on local knowledge and insider experience; it is ironic because of their distance from that experience.
This unique post-revisionist study focuses on people’s lives and experiences rather than political systems. The studies are grouped around three common elements—socialist labor, the new socialist man, and the socialist way of life. They translate socialism’s major ideological principles into motives that guide lives. Using first-hand accounts, the authors find minute deviations from the norms that eventually lead to re-negotiation of the norms themselves. Focusing on routines, not extremes, they present socialism in its "normal" state. They examine trivial matters to understand the limits set on individuals’ lives but also on their goals and dreams.
Each chapter is based primarily on personal documents and narrative interviews. The overall approach is ethno-methodological. The interpretations capture behavior and speech that is seldom reflected or articulated in narrative histories. The volume demonstrates different national strategies for dealing with the past in the post-socialist world. Studies of the socialist past may strive to be objective, but their messages tend to be complex. Rather that arriving at one truth about the nature of socialism, this volume explores the many ways people have survived the system.
|Subjects||Everyday life/Society/Memory, Ideology/Power|