New Book, Communism Unwrapped, from Department Chair, Mary Neuburger
Posted: September 28, 2012
Communism Unwrapped: Consumption in Cold War Eastern Europe
Editors, Mary Neuburger and Paulina Bren
Communism Unwrapped is a collection of essays that reveals the complex world of consumption in Cold War Eastern Europe. Its editors have carefully compiled, analyzed, and contextualized new work from a range of scholars, both American and European, who come from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. The result is a fresh look at everyday life under communism that explores the ways people shopped, ate, drank, smoked, cooked, acquired, assessed and exchanged goods. These phenomena, the editors argue, were central to the way that communism was lived and experienced in its widely varied contexts in the region. Consumption, after all, pervaded everyday life far more than most other political and social phenomena. Through the world of consumption and the various meanings that were attached to such activities, this volume sets out to build on a range of newer work in the field that promises dimension and nuance to our understanding of the communist period. From design, to production, to retail sales and black market exchange, Communism Unwrapped follows communist goods from producer to consumer, along subterranean trade routes, from farm to table. In the communist world this journey was rife with its own meanings, formed by the special political and social circumstances of these societies, while in turn shaping everyday experiences under communism.