chapter  1
Postsocialism as a topic of anthropological investigation
ByChris Hann, Caroline Humphrey, Katherine Verdery
Pages 28

The struggle between capitalism and socialism was a long drawn out contest that decisively framed the political consciousness of most of the world’s population while it lasted and continues to exercise pervasive effects a decade after it was apparently won by ‘the free world’. Massive changes have taken place in the former socialist countries. Many academic disciplines have addressed these changes and in some cases, notably that of economics, disciplinary paradigms have been utilized not merely to explain what is unfolding but to make changes happen in a particular way. Yet, after more than a decade, many deficits remain in social science understandings of the ‘transition’. I shall argue that anthropology provides the necessary corrective to the deficits of ‘transitology’, and that the anthropological study of other parts of the world can also profit from attention to the emerging studies of postsocialism.2