NAVIGATING THE PLANNED ECONOMY: ACCOMODATION AND SURVIVAL IN MOSCOW’S POST-WAR ‘SOVIET JEWISH PALE’ Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
Creator
  • Kushkova, Anna
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Anthropology
Abstract
  • This dissertation presents an anthropological case study of Jewish engagement in the Soviet “planned economy,” or the “economy of shortage,” in a specific geographic setting of Moscow Jewish suburbs in the first decades after World War II. Due to a range of socio-political, economic and demographic developments Moscow’s suburban settlements with their dense pattern of Jewish residence, unparalleled in Soviet history, turned into what may be called a “Soviet Jewish pale” – a distinctive socio-cultural Jewish environment sustaining a specific configuration of Soviet Jewishness, not fully coinciding with that of the former shtetl, yet different from that characteristic of large urban settings. The study focuses on one particular sphere constitutive of the suburban Jewish collective identity, that is, the economic practices where Jewishness played a vital role in creating channels for obtaining production resources, organizing production and devising distribution strategies. It demonstrates that the prohibition of private entrepreneurship on the part of the socialist state, largely ideological rather than economic in nature, called forth a likewise not purely economic response from below – ethnic mobilization in certain spheres of the formal socialist economy. In particular, the dissertation addresses three Jewish economic “niches” – small-scale artel production, trade and the Soviet version of junk-yards, and explores the question of their “embeddedness” in Jewish economic and social traditions. As a part of a wider debate on the nature of socialist production, the dissertation provides a locally-informed understanding of the role that ethnic actors played in production and distribution at the intersection of the “first” and the “second” Soviet economies. As cultural anthropology, it examines the complex relationships between social tradition, belief and accommodation in the urban-rural nexus of the country’s capital. By focusing on an ethnic group subjected to open and covert discrimination that curbed its members’ professional choices, this work involves an historically grounded sociocultural analysis of inequality and socio-political adaptation. As economic anthropology, it makes the first systematic attempt at narrating Soviet Jewish economic history after World War II.
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  • In Copyright
Advisor
  • Peacock, James L.
  • Rivkin-Fish, Michele
  • Colloredo-Mansfeld, Rudi
  • von Bernuth, Ruth
  • Boyarin, Jonathan
Degree
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2017
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