Society and Culture | Wilson Center

Society and Culture

Rebounding Identities: The Politics of Identity in Russia and Ukraine

An examination of post-Soviet society through ethnic, religious, and linguistic criteria, this volume turns what is typically anthropological subject matter into the basis of politics, sociology, and history. Ten chapters cover such diverse subjects as Ukrainian language revival, Tatar language revival, nationalist separatism and assimilation in Russia, religious pluralism in Russia and in Ukraine, mobilization against Chinese immigration, and even the politics of mapmaking.

The Toothpaste of Immortality: Self-Construction in the Consumer Age

Elemér Hankiss shows how human beings act simultaneously in two plays. On the “trivial” surface of their everyday lives they work, make money, raise children, build houses, and do a lot of other things. At the same time, they also act in the “existential” drama of their lives—even if they are not aware of doing so. They construct and reconstruct their selves each day by striving for authenticity, the intense experience of being, dignity, meaning, and the hope of immortality.

Solovyovo: The Story of Memory in a Russian Village

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.

Creating Diversity Capital: Transnational Migrants in Montreal, Washington, and Kyiv

How do urban communities accommodate this century’s massive transnational migrations? This volume seeks clues about how a city’s capacity for urban social sustainability, termed "diversity capital," may expand under such conditions.

Rethinking the Economics of War: The Intersection of Need, Creed, and Greed

Rethinking the Economics of War: The Intersection of Need, Creed, and Greed questions the adequacy of explaining today’s internal armed conflicts purely in terms of economic factors and reestablishes the importance of identity and grievances in creating and sustaining such wars. This collection of essays responds to current works asserting that the income from natural resources is the end and not just a means for warring rebel groups. The study puts greed in its place and restores the importance of deprivation and discrimination as the primary causes of armed conflict within states.

Final Acts: A Guide to Preserving the Records of Truth Commissions

Twenty truth commissions have completed their work of examining and reporting on the abuses of deposed regimes, leaving behind a wide variety of records: transcripts, video and audio recordings, e-mail and computer files, and artifacts. Why save such evidence? According to Trudy H. Peterson, preservation “completes the commission’s work. Oppressive regimes try to impose a selective amnesia on society … Saving the records makes sure that amnesia does not prevail.”

Beyond Free and Fair: Monitoring Elections and Building Democracy

Beyond Free and Fair Elections: Monitoring Elections and Building Democracy draws on worldwide experience since the mid-1980s to evaluate international election monitoring and domestic monitoring, and their contributions to democracy promotion and democratic change. In this book, Eric Bjornlund provides an overview of what election monitoring is, where it comes from, and how it is currently conducted, and he educes general lessons for democracy promotion.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan: The Intellectual in Public Life

One of the most distinguished figures in twentieth-century American politics, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, was at the center of virtually every major political issue of his day, offering a distinct voice unique in its prescience, scholarliness, and statesmanlike manner.

Russia in Search of Itself

In the turbulent decade since the collapse of the Soviet Union, conditions have worsened considerably for many Russians, and a wide-ranging debate has raged over the nature and destiny of their country. In Russia in Search of Itself, James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress and a noted expert on Russia, examines the efforts of a proud but troubled nation to find a post-Soviet identity. The agenda has not been controlled from the top-down and center-out as in Russia’s past. Nor has it been set by any intellectual giant such as Sakharov or Solzhenitsyn.

Learning from Foreign Models in Latin American Policy Reform

The international diffusion of policy ideas and practices is a subject of growing interest, raising such questions as: Why are there increasingly such waves of policy innovation? What prompts one country to emulate another's changes? Is it the influence of powerful international actors like the World Bank? Is it the motivations and interests of domestic actors? And how freely do imitators adapt foreign models to the needs and characteristics of their own countries, rather than simply replicating them?

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