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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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Part 1: Subcultures

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Part 1 Subcultures Introduction (Post-)subculture Theory, and Practice in East-Central Europe George McKay and Michael Goddard This section of the book contains chapters which explore recent and current subcultural and related practices and formations in a geographical spread across Eastern Europe, the Baltic states and Russia. We are concerned with presenting material that forms new studies in empirical case form as well as that which considers contemporary theorizations, across areas of style (fashion), popular music and post-socialist lifestyle. Our aims are that these chapters contribute to the further understanding of a continued fascina- tion on the part of some young and some not-so-young people with aspects of subcultural identity, that the case studies themselves help to inform current debates on the scholarship of post-subcultures in a post-socialist context and that the outstanding dynamic between national identity and transnational cultural exchange in a global context is further explored. In this brief introduction we also want to outline theoretical and contextual questions that underpin much of the material that follows. Theorizing (Post-)subculture Post-subcultural theory is a recent development in the study of subcul- tures that followed the dissolution of the previously dominant Gramscian approach to subcultures as resistance to hegemonic forms of social domina- tion that was developed in particular by Birmingham University’s Centre for 4 George McKay and Michael Goddard Contemporary Cultural Studies in Britain in the 1970s. Running effectively parallel with the development of subcultural groups from 1950s Teddy Boys to 1970s punk rockers (or perhaps more accurately,...

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