University Park, Pa. : Pennsylvania State University Press, c2002.
xii, 265 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -258) and index.
(Re)Constructing normality in post-Communism
From opposition to independence : social movements in Latvia, 1986-1991
Normalizing politics and politicizing normality
Transforming boundaries : space, place, and normality
(Re)Constructing gender in post-Communism
Transformation and normalization : a conclusion to the study.
Every epoch produces its own notions of social change, and the post-Communist societies of East Europe are no exception. Imagining the Nation explores the fate of contemporary Latvia, a small country with a big story that is relevant for anyone wishing to better understand the nature of post-Communist transitions. As Latvia and other former Soviet-bloc countries seek to rebuild and transform their societies, what is the central dynamic at work? In Imagining the Nation, Daina Stukuls Eglitis finds that in virtually all aspects of life the guiding sentiment among Latvians has been a desire for normality in the wake of the "deformations" that marked the half century of Soviet rule. In seeking to return to normality, many people look to the West for models; others look back in time to the period of Latvian independence from 1918 to 1940 before the years of Soviet domination. Ultimately, the changes in Latvia and other East European countries are closely tied to a vital reimagining of the past, as the logic of progress long associated with "revolution" is amalgamated with nostalgia for what is gone. The radiant utopias of revolution give way to widely shared aspirations for a return to the normal in politics, place names, private property, and even gender relations. Eglitis draws upon published and unpublished documents, campaign posters, maps, and monuments, as well as interviews with Latvians from all walks of life. The resulting picture of life in contemporary Latvia offers fresh perspective on a dilemma facing millions throughout the post Communist world. (source: Nielsen Book Data)