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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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Notes on Contributors 421

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Notes on Contributors Milda Ališauskienė is a doctoral candidate in sociology at Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, where she is analysing the characteristics and development of contemporary religiosity in Lithuania. Her research inter- ests include the sociology of religion, new religious movements and the role of religion in the post-Communist societies of East-Central Europe. She has published several articles on different manifestations of religion in contemporary Lithuania, including the Art of Living Foundation, New Age movements and Satanism. Airi-Alina Allaste is a professor of sociology and the head of the Centre for Lifestyle Studies in the Institute for International and Social Studies at Tallin University, Estonia. Her main research topics are youth lifestyles and subcultures. Her recent work includes Drug Cultures in Esto- nia: Contexts, Meanings and Patterns of Illicit Drug Use (Tallinn University Press, 2006). Dušan Deák is head of the Department of Ethnology and World Stud- ies at the University of Sts Cyril and Methodius in Trnava, Slovakia. His research focuses on the hagiographical traditions of South Asia, saint-wor- ship past and present, and the connection between religious narratives and local memory. He is also currently analysing the spread of Indian religious concepts in Slovakia, through new religious movements which claim to teach Indian religious thought and practices. Neil Foxlee is a Post-doctoral Research Assistant in the Department of Education and Social Science at the University of Central Lancashire, where he also lectures in the English Department. He has published a number of articles on the...

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