By Melissa L. Caldwell
What Muscovites get in a soup kitchen run via the Christian Church of Moscow is anything way more sophisticated and complex-if no much less worthwhile and nourishing-than the nutrients that feeds their starvation. In no longer via Bread by myself, the 1st full-length ethnographic examine of poverty and social welfare within the postsocialist global, Melissa L. Caldwell specializes in the standard operations and civil transactions at CCM soup kitchens to bare the recent realities, the long-lasting positive factors, and the exciting subtext of social aid in Russia this day. In a global nutrients relief group, Caldwell explores how Muscovites hire a few improvisational strategies to meet their fabric wishes. She exhibits how the relationships that strengthen between participants of this community-elderly Muscovite recipients, Russian relief employees, African pupil volunteers, and North American and ecu donors and volunteers-provide varieties of social help which are hugely valued and eventually way more very important than fabric assets. In now not via Bread by myself we see how the soup kitchens develop into websites of social balance and shelter for all who have interaction there-not simply people with constrained monetary means-and how Muscovites articulate definitions of starvation and poverty that rely way more at the volume of one's social contacts than on fabric components. via rethinking the ways that relationships among social and monetary practices are theorized-by opting for social kin and social prestige as Russia's precise financial currency-this ebook demanding situations triumphing rules in regards to the function of the kingdom, the character of poverty and welfare, the feasibility of Western-style reforms, and the primacy of social connections within the day-by-day lives of normal humans in post-Soviet Russia. Illustrations: sixteen b/w photos
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Extra resources for Not by Bread Alone: Social Support in the New Russia
Yet humor is only one strategy among many that Muscovites have devised for managing the unpredictability of Russia’s social and political economy. In this chapter, I discuss Muscovites’ survival strategies as forms of improvisation, or “making do”; and I suggest that through collective efforts to manipulate the system, Muscovites graft social relations onto economic interests. 34 M A K I NG D O The Tactics of Improvisation In Moscow, a common response to the ever-present changes and sense of uncertainty that colored daily life during my ﬁeldwork was a shrug of the shoulders and the statement, “We do not know what tomorrow will bring” (My ne znaem, chto budet zavtra).
17 Moreover, I consider myself fortunate to have been able to conduct research among a group of people whose expressions of generosity and concern went far beyond offers of professional courtesy and became displays of friendship and affection. For this I am deeply grateful. Thus, I have no regrets about having followed the piece of advice that James Watson frequently gives his graduate students: “In ﬁeldwork you live where people live, you do what people do, and you go where people go” (1997:viii).
In contrast to Bourdieu’s insistence that the creativity of making do is realized in the paradox of “a world of already realized ends” (1980:53) is the perspective that agents are active participants in the production of those ends and their expression (Herzfeld 1985; Reed-Danahay 1996). Yet even this acknowledgment of social actors as agents relies on a zero-sum assessment of the power relations at work in the control of resources. This is the essence of de Certeau’s distinction between “strategies” and “tactics” (1984:34–38).