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«Back in the West»

Changing Lifestyles in Transforming Societies


Edited By Airi-Alina Allaste

This book examines the changing lifestyles in transforming societies, focusing on the interplay of lifestyle choices, social status and the society as a whole. When individuals choose their careers, mates or networks to belong to and to identify with, they are influenced by rapid technological developments, economic uncertainty and other ongoing changes in society. On the other hand, by their choices they also construct new social realities. The book addresses lifestyles and social change in connection with a wide range of issues: belonging to different movements and networks; changes in gender order, work and partner choices; changes in home cultures and ways of residing; emerging translocal belonging and cross cultural relationships; consumption choices and construction of identities. The first part of the book gives the wider context within a longer perspective and the second part is focused on specific cases of lifestyle choices.


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From plan to market: major trends in life satisfaction and subjective well-being: Leeni Hansson


From plan to market: major trends in life satisfaction and subjective well-being Leeni Hansson Introduction Since the late 1980s, the post-socialist countries of Central and Eastern Euro- pean, as well as the countries of the former Soviet Union, have undergone a process of radical political and economic reforms. Estonia, like other Baltic countries, witnessed several transitions – from totalitarianism to democracy, from a centrally planned economy to a free-market economy, from a society characterised by shortage economy to a consuming society (Lauristin and Viha- lemm 1997; Keller and Vihalemm 2003). The main challenge of the period was to build up new institutions of an independent state and to change the ineffective plan economy, which was characterised by high centrality and low freedom of choice, into modern Western-style market economy. Social scientists have re- ferred to the period of transitions as ‘returning to the Western world’ (Lauristin and Vihalemm 1997) or returning to the ‘consuming West’ (Keller and Viha- lemm 2003). In the beginning, the collapse of the Soviet political and economic system created high expectations, as the new social order and free market were expected to generate economic growth and consumer freedom, and accordingly, increase well-being. However, most of the studies dealing with transition countries have revealed that contrary to the expectations, the populations of these countries had to pay for the macro-level socio-economic transformation with their well-being (Easterlin 2009; Zagorski 2011; Selezneva 2011; Ainsaar 2011; Abbott and Wallace 2012). In these countries, the mean subjective well-being scores which, in the...

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