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Subcultures and New Religious Movements in Russia and East-Central Europe

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Edited By George McKay, Christopher Williams, Michael Goddard and Neil Foxlee

The collapse of communism has opened up Russia and East-Central Europe to outside influences and enabled new lifestyle choices and forms of religious expression. Based on extensive ethnographic research, this collection uses a variety of theoretical perspectives and methodologies to examine some of the many subcultures and new religious movements that have emerged as part of this process, from members of utopian eco-communities, native-language hip-hoppers and nationalistic skinheads to various forms of Indian-inspired spirituality, neo-paganism and theosophy. Whether they reflect a growing sense of national or ethnic identity, the influence of globalization or a combination of the two, such groups highlight the challenge of creating a free, open and tolerant society in both Russia and new or prospective EU member states. The book seeks to contribute to academic and policy debates in this area by increasing understanding of the groups in question.
The studies in this collection present selected findings from the three-year EU-funded project ‘Society and Lifestyles: Towards Enhancing Social Harmonization through Knowledge of Subcultural Communities’ (2006-2008), which included partners from a wide range of post-communist countries in Eastern Europe and from the UK.

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Preface (Egidija Ramanauskaitė) ix

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Preface Egidija Ramanauskaitė This volume originates from a three-year EU FP6 research project entitled Society and Lifestyles: Towards Enhancing Social Harmonization through Knowledge of Sub-cultural Communities, which started in 2006; see the project website at http://sal.vdu.lt.1 The overall aim of the project was to extend knowledge about values and religions in Europe through the investigation of the communities which represent a variety of values and religious beliefs in the countries of Europe where radical political changes occurred following the collapse of the communist regime. These changes, which were oriented toward the development of democratic societies, led to social and cultural renewal in these societies. The project is based on an in-depth analysis of a significant number of subcultural communities which disseminate their values and beliefs. The project intended to analyse the challenges to contemporary European society arising from these different communities, to study their dominant values, beliefs, world-views and patterns of communication and to dis- cuss the meanings of freedom and lifestyle as they are understood among the different groups. Another intention was to study the manifestations 1 Contract No: STREP-CT-CIT5–029013. Start date: 1 January 2006. Project coor- dinator: Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania. Project management: Europarama, Lithuania. Project partners: University of Central Lancashire, UK; University of SS. Cyril and Methodius in Trnava, Slovakia; Tallinn University, Estonia; Daugavpils University, Latvia; University of Pécs, Hungary; Warsaw Agricultural University, Poland; Dunarea de Jos University of Galati, Romania; University of Warwick, UK; University of Salford, UK; Centre for Analytic Studies and...

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