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IISCE - English version

Beyond Socialism and Postsocialism: Contemporary Ethnographic Perspectives on Central/Eastern Europe

Despite popular and scholarly frameworks that present central/eastern Europe largely in terms of socialism, postsocialism, and neoliberalism, ethnographic research shows that this large-scale, political-economic perspective is rarely sufficient for understanding the complexities of everyday life in the region. Rather, other dimensions of social life (e.g., age, gender, class, education, health, geography) are often more salient categories for understanding contemporary social phenomena. This one-day workshop brings together scholars who conduct ethnography in the region to discuss ethnographic findings that are not easily understood within Cold War binary logics, thus working to create alternative scholarly frameworks. We welcome a wide range of topics, such as: health and illness; suffering, abandonment, and hope; kinship, relatedness, and care; memory; generations; education; or the politics of heritage. By presenting ethnographic perspectives on a variety of topics, the organizers aim to integrate large-scale political-economic frameworks with a range of lived experiences, thus working towards a more holistic anthropology of the region.

The daylong workshop will be structured around the interests of the participants, each of whom will give a brief (8-10-minute) presentation on his or her work. Presentations will be grouped by theme and there will be ample time for open discussion. We invite each scholar to send a brief description of his or her research, as well as to suggest two or three key citations for thinking about the contemporary anthropology of the region as a way of developing a shared knowledge base. Selected citations will be sent to participants ahead of the conference.

This workshop is the second day of a two-day event sponsored by the Wenner-Gren Foundation through an Engaged Anthropology Grant awarded to Jessica Robbins (University of Michigan) and hosted by the School of Education at the University of Lower Silesia. The workshop is co-organized by: International Institute for the Study of Culture and Education at the School of Education of the University of Lower Silesia (Wrocław, Poland), Institute of Ethnology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, v.v.i. (Prague, Czech Republic) and the Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology of Adam Mickiewicz University (Poznań, Poland).

Date & Place

May 16, 2013, 10:00 - 18:00, Conference Center at the University of Lower Silesia, Strzegomska 55, Wroclaw, room 111

Scientific and Organizing Committee

Jessica Robbins, Hana Cervinkova, Michal Buchowski


The workshop is free of charge. Lunch and coffee breaks will be provided. To receive more information about the workshop, please contact us at We ask you to please confirm your participation ASAP at to reserve your place in the workshop - space is limited.