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Russia's Economy of Favours : Blat, Networking and Informal Exchange - Alena V. Ledeneva

Russia's Economy of Favours

Blat, Networking and Informal Exchange

Hardcover

Published: 13th August 1998
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The word blat refers to the system of informal contacts and personal networks which was used to obtain goods and services under the rationing which characterised Soviet Russia. Alena Ledeneva's book is the first to analyse blat in all its historical, socio-economic and cultural aspects, and to explore its implications for post-Soviet society. In a socialist distribution system which resulted in constant shortages, blat developed into an 'economy of favours' which shadowed an overcontrolling centre and represented the reaction of ordinary people to the social constraints they faced. In social and economic terms, blat exchanges became vital to the population, and to the functioning of the Soviet system. The book shows that the nature of the economic and political changes in contemporary Russia cannot be properly understood without attention to the powerful legacy of the blat economy.

'Russia's Economy of Favours provides fascinating insights into an important and neglected aspect of Soviet/Russian society. Anthropologists, sociologists, and historians will all benefit from this vivid and informed study, based on interview data from the early 1990s, of Russian networking practices. This work by a young Russian scholar is a fine example of an emerging post-Soviet Russian scholarship that combines theoretical sophistication with a solid empirical base and a native 'feel' for the situation.' Sheila Fitzpatrick, University of Chicago 'In a most felicitous fashion this book weds analytical sophistication to the initimate, inside knowledge and 'feel' of Russian realities. Whether a seasoned expert in Russian history and culture or just a person interested in unfamiliar yet fascinating ways of life, the reader will be richly rewarded by a much deeper understanding of how Soviet and post-Soviet society, worked and goes on working, and what the experience of living in that society feels like.' Zygmunt Bauman, University of Leeds

List of cartoons
List of figures and tables
Acknowledgements
Introduction
Blat: the unknown phenomenon
Understanding blat
The Soviet order: a view from within
The use of personal networks
Blat as a form of exchange: between gift and commodity
Networking in the post-Soviet period
Appendix
Bibliography
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521621748
ISBN-10: 0521621747
Series: Cambridge Russian, Soviet & Post-Soviet Studies
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 256
Published: 13th August 1998
Publisher: CAMBRIDGE UNIV PR
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.24  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.54