Pernille Hohnen has written a detailed ethnography of a Lithuanian market place in the mid-1990s and as such contributes significantly to the understanding of a phenomenon largely unaccounted for by anthropologists, namely shuttle trading, and a new form of transnationalism connected to the numerous outdoor markets that were established all over Eastern and Central Europe during the 1990s, most of which still flourish. Traders go as far as China, India, Turkey, and Poland and bring back items for local consumption as well as for retail, not only within the country, but throughout the region. The global extension of the local market is astonishing, not least on account of the personal ingenuity invested in an uncertain business where one can only learn the hard way. Furthermore, by combining a synchronic analysis of the market with an analysis of changing trading practices during the crucial 10-year period of the 1990s, the book sheds important light on processes of creativity and venture, as well as on the more gradual institutionalization of trading practices such as trade routes, trading routines, technology, and forms of political control. Both traders and their environment tend to evaluate the market place as somehow outside civilized society. The 'disorderly' nature of the market epitomizes contested social hierarchies and cultural categories, as well as privatized power relations in the form of racketeers which slowly gain legitimacy. The analysis of the market place sheds light on changing discourses of ethnicity, gender and work in Lithuanian society as well as contributing to a more thorough theoretical understanding of 'transition'.
Series: Oxford Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology
Number Of Pages: 176
Published: 1st April 2004
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 24.1 x 16.2 x 1.5
Weight (kg): 0.45