Public Release: 

Symbolic traces of communist legacy in post-socialist Hungary by Dr. Lisa Pope Fischer

The City University of New York

Symbolic Traces of Communist Legacy in Post-Socialist Hungary: Experiences of a Generation that Lived During the Socialist Era is by Dr. Lisa Pope Fischer, Associate Professor of Anthropology at City Tech, City University of New York (CUNY).

In this book, Dr. Fischer shows how personal practices symbolically refurbish elements from the Communist era to fit present-day challenges. A generation who lived through the socialist period adapt to post-socialist Hungary in a global context. Life histories weave together case studies of gift giving, procurement strategies, harvest ritual, healthcare, and socialist kitsch to illustrate turns towards mysticism, neo-traditionalism, nostalgia, nationalism, and shifts in time-place. People's unrequited past longing for future possibilities of a Western society facilitate desires for a lost way of life. Not only does this work gain understanding of an aging population's life experiences and the politics of everyday practices, but also social change in a modern global world.

In particular, Dr. Fischer examines the growing disparities between people, in particular a generational divide between a younger generation adapting quickly to technological advances, globalization, and a market economy, and an older generation sluggish to change. "My research suggests, not necessarily nostalgia for a return to communism," said Dr. Fischer, "but rather the different ways people incorporate expressions from that era into their everyday routines today, as a way of making sense of the past, but also the difficulties of present day society to then create a subtle kind of political voice expressed via everyday practices."

An accessible look into everyday life and post-socialist Hungary, this book appeals to any Social Science discipline interested in understanding social change in a modern global world.


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The City University of New York is the nation's leading urban public university. Founded in New York City in 1847, the University comprises 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, and additional professional schools. The University serves nearly 275,000 degree-credit students and 218,083 adult, continuing, and professional education students.

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