Soviet Legacies Summer School, 4.-10.7.2011, Ostroh/UA

Program description: Soviet Joke: ‚Can a person live earning just a salary?‘ ‚We don´t know – we´ve never tried.‘

This Soviet joke illustrates how the Soviet socio-economic system
really worked, but it still sounds surprisingly cogent today. In many
ways it describes the everyday life not only of ordinary citizens,
but also of state officials, politicians, and businessmen. Explaining
the vivacity of this joke will be the challenge of our Summer School.
The International Social Science Summer School in Ukraine was
initiated in 2009 by the French Embassy in Ukraine under the theme of
‚Studying Memories of Central and Eastern Europe‘ in Uman, three
hours south of Kyiv. With the Second School, held in Dnipropetrovsk
in 2010 on ‚Approaches to Post-Soviet Transformations‘, academic
partners now included the Mohyla Doctoral School, Ukraina Moderna,
and the EHESS in Paris and the Chair in Ottawa. The local partner in
2011 will be the renowned Ostroh Academy National University in
Western Ukraine. From the start, the Summer School in Ukraine has
developed a thematic focus encompassing the former Soviet Bloc
(former Soviet Union and Central Europe), and an international
participation of scholars and doctoral students from the former
Soviet Union, Central and Western Europe, North America and
elsewhere. Our ambition, for the 2011 Third Summer School is to bring
the economic dimension into political and social analyses of Soviet
and post-Soviet societies (of the former Soviet Bloc). In doing so,
we expect to explore the relationships and the mutual dependence
between economics, politics and society, with a special focus on
everyday practices. The socio-economic peculiarities of the Soviet
system “ state-run economy, scarcity of goods, informal practices,
dominance of the centre over peripheries – continue to shape post-
Soviet realities. The drastic socio-economic changes of the late
1980s led to the appearance of fascinating rules, practices and
social roles, which have often been presented as ’new‘. The first
private enterprises, privatization campaigns, economic criminality,
Komsomol-run business, everyday adaptation and survival strategies
are a few examples of these phenomena. One may wonder, however, to
what extent they were truly new, or more an outgrowth of the
experience of the Soviet years. Twenty years later, when market
economies seem to be established throughout the region, the peculiar
relationship between economics, politics and society, often analyzed
as flawed and malfunctioning, remains under-studied. Political
parties or positions for sale, the widespread practice of kickbacks
in business, the unique role of interpersonal connections
(simultaneously frowned upon and seen as necessary for access to
everything from medical care to debt financing), the particular local
conception of meritocracy, all call for fresh inquiries.

The Third International Social Science Summer School in Ukraine will
provide a unique forum for the presentation and discussion of
exciting research on economy, politics, and everyday life. Major
themes that of particular interest to the School include:

* The Interplay Between Economy and Politics: political careers and
falls from power, taxation, privileges, redistribution, corruption,
citizen interactions with state institutions, the economic dimension
of social and political activism, centre/periphery relations in the
Soviet and post-Soviet context.

* Economy and Everyday Life: poverty and wealth, labor migration,
market phenomena in a non-market economy, non-market practices in a
market economy, blat, networking and the economy of favors, the
social way of coping with the scarcity and the asymmetry of goods in
the village or in the city.

* Configurations of Entrepreneurship:
the origins and behavior of
Soviet and post-Soviet entrepreneurs, the role of business in
politics, the strategies of taking opportunities of dramatic economic
changes, economic criminality and its transformations.

Theoretical and methodological contributions on analytical tools
available to the study socio-economic practices are most welcomed.

The Summer School is designed to be interdisciplinary and
international. The organizers welcome historical, sociological,
anthropological, political science, and economic contributions, as
well as relevant proposals from other fields. Participants are
expected to present their own work and to participate in group
discussions. The School´s program consists of lectures, panel
discussions, and field trips within the region, followed by
discussion sessions.


The Summer School is hosted by Ostroh Academy National University,
situated in Ostroh, Rivne oblast in Volhynia, Western Ukraine. Ostroh
Academy is one of the oldest higher education institutions in Ukraine
and Eastern Europe, and traces its roots to the influential Orthodox
magnate Ostozhsky who, in 1576, established the Slavic-Greek-Latin
Academy that later bore his name. Reestablished in 1994, the new
Ostroh Academy sees itself as the spiritual successor of the historic
university. It has developed into a dynamic and internationally open
institution, one of the top humanities schools in Ukraine. The
campus, which will host the Summer School, combines beautifully
renovated old buildings and well-equipped new constructions,
surrounded by centenary trees.


One week, 4-10 July 2011 (5 working days). Arrival on July 4.
Sessions begin on July 5 and end on July 9. Departure on July 10.


The Summer School is open to PhD students (or students enrolled in a
kandidat nauk program) and young researchers (up to six years removed
from their PhD or kandidat nauk degree). Empirically grounded
proposals are particularly welcomed.

The working language of the Summer School will be English, and it is
important that prospective participants have a good knowledge of this

The selection committee will select candidates based on their
responses to this Call for Proposals. The selected candidates will be
advised before the end of May.

Program Costs

There is no program fee. Local transportation from/to Kyiv,
accommodation, meals, classes, lectures, seminars and excursions are
provided by the organizers and free of charge.

Travel expenses from the participant’s country to Kyiv should be
arranged by him/herself or his/her university.

How to apply?

To be considered for the Summer School, candidates must complete an
application form (that includes a 500 word project proposal) and add
a CV. They can also send an additional written sample, such as a
conference paper, a dissertation chapter, or a publication
(optional). The application must be sent by e-mail to, by 15 April 2011.

The application form can be requested at or downloaded on the web page of the
Summer School, (coming soon).

For more information, please contact:
Guillaume Colin
+380 44 504 01 39

Deadline for applications 15th April 2011

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