Socialisms and Postsocialisms in a Global Context forum

Michaelmas 2019 / 6 Nov, Convened by Dace Dzenovska & Nicolette Makovicky

COMPAS Boardroom, 58 Banbury Road, Oxford

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We are very pleased to announce the schedule of the Socialisms and Postsocialisms in a Global Context “work-in-progress” forum for Michaelmas 2019.

Socialisms and Postsocialisms in a Global Context is a forum for sharing and discussing work with colleagues working on resonant themes. It is also a shared space for intellectual conversation about the contributions the studies of socialism and postsocialism can make in and across different disciplines – anthropology, history, socio-legal studies, sociology, political science and international relations. We are particularly interested in thinking about what insights derived from studies of socialism and postsocialism can offer with regard to understanding the current historical moment.

We do not consider socialism and postsocialism to be a geographically delimited area of inquiry, but understand it as global and diverse phenomenon and therefore invite participation of faculty and students across disciplinary and regional expertise. We particularly welcome advanced DPhil students who want to share their research and ideas in a constructive and supportive environment. The group is convened through a collaboration between faculty members affiliated with the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies and the School Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, but is open to all interested faculty and graduate students. Information about upcoming events will be circulated through the RSC and COMPAS mailing lists. If you would like to present your work in future sessions, please send an email to Dace Dzenovska.

Sessions will take place on Wednesdays of Weeks 4 and 7 at 15:00 in the COMPAS Board Room, 58 Banbury Road.

We look forward to an exciting conversation!

Nicolette Makovicky, Oxford School of Global and Area Studies (OSGA)
Dace Dzenovska, School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography (SAME)



‘Experiment on Ourselves:’ Collective housing, Self-Help Construction and Self-Management in Youth Residential Complex (MZhK) Housing Movement in the Late-Soviet Russia, 1969-1992

Nikolay Erofeev, Faculty of History, University of Oxford

In the Soviet era, a long-lasting idea of housing with collective services was implemented in various forms, starting from widely discussed but rarely actually constructed constructivist ‘house-communes’ (doma-kommuny) of the 1920s. This paper focuses on the less known late-Soviet realisations of a collective housing project, in the case of ‘Youth Residential Complexes’ (MZhKs). Starting in 1969, this project was declared as an experiment, in which residents had to participate in the process of design, organisation, and management of their ‘housing complexes.’ Candidates for residency also had to work on the construction site for several years, building housing with their labour, earning in such a way, the right to live in it. The paper traces the story of the project from early experiments to the very end of the Soviet times, when it became a mass movement, with more than 700 housing estates constructed across the USSR. Based on the case of a housing complex in Ekaterinburg (1977–1982), the paper analyses both practical motives of grass-roots organisation and an ideological side of the project, looking how official narratives of communal housing and visions of emancipation were re-interpreted and re-articulated by the residents. With the examples of housing complexes, actually-functioning in post-socialist time and even today, the paper seeks to produce a picture not only of how socialism projected housing utopias but also of what it actually achieved.