|"Who Owns the Past? The Politics of Time in a ‘Model’ Bulgarian Village"|
|Publisher||New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2004|
This sophisticated ethnography of socialist temporal discourses presents a remarkable addition to the anthropology of (post)socialism. Australian-Bulgarian anthropologist Deema Kaneff began her fieldwork in 1986, and the socialist period takes up the best part of her book, framed by material from the 1990s and early 2000s. The socialist model village of ‘Talpa’ (a pseudonym) serves as the ethnographic model, being both exemplary of the peculiarities of socialist temporality and representative of Bulgarian village life generally.
The book comprises four sections plus a concluding chapter. A comprehensive introduction presents the book’s analytical themes as well as Talpa, its inhabitants and political institutions. The remainder of the book is organized around three principal temporal discourses regarding the past: history, tradition and folklore. These categories are not the ethnographer’s analytical constructs but salient terms in villagers’ everyday lives. One of Kaneff’s strengths is her effective use of ethnographic material to demonstrate how these different temporalities ‘gave value to persons, space and occasions’ (p. 10).
--- Gisa Weszkalnys, Goldsmiths College in Critique of Anthropology 2007; 27; 468 ---
|Subjects||Everyday life/Society/Memory, Economy/Government/Leaders|