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Coming of Age in Post-Soviet Russia cover
  • ISBN: 9780252025433
  • ISBN10: 0252025431

Coming of Age in Post-Soviet Russia

by Fran Markowitz

  • List Price: $45.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ of Illinois Pr
  • Publish date: 03/01/2000
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Russian adolescents of the 1990s were born into the Soviet Union and grew up in the midst of the tremendous political, economic, and social upheaval of glasnost, perestroika, and the raspad (fragmentation of the USSR). How has this environment of uncertainty and turmoil affected them?

Anthropologist Fran Markowitz interviewed more than one hundred Russian teenagers to discover how adolescents have been coping with their country's seismic transitions. Her findings mark a substantive challenge to near-axiomatic theories of human development that regard cultural stability as indispensable to the successful navigation of adolescent upheaval.

Markowitz's fieldwork supports the surprising conclusion that glasnost, perestroika, and the raspad -- and the disruptions they brought -- exerted a greater impact on Western political hopes and on many of Russia's adults than on young people's perceptions of their own lives. More momentous to nearly all these students than the 1991 attempted coup against Gorbachev and the dissolution of the Soviet Union was the abandonment of school uniforms, an event that ushered in a new era of personal choice, experimentation, and consumption.

In remarks on everything from being Russian to religion, sex, music, and military service, the teenagers convey a pragmatic, flexible, and optimistic approach to the future. Their perspectives suggest that culture change and social instability may be seen as positive forces, allowing for expressive opportunities, the establishment of individualized identities, and creative, pragmatic planning.

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