Sociology

Peasants under Siege: The Collectivization of Romanian Agriculture, 1949-1962

Paperback

Price:
$45.95 / £38.00
ISBN:
Published:
08/14/2011
Copyright:
2011
Pages:
520
Size:
6 x 9.25 in.
Illus:
24 halftones. 2 line illus. 9 tables. 1 map.
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In 1949, Romania’s fledgling communist regime unleashed a radical and brutal campaign to collectivize agriculture in this largely agrarian country, following the Soviet model. Peasants under Siege provides the first comprehensive look at the far-reaching social engineering process that ensued. Gail Kligman and Katherine Verdery examine how collectivization assaulted the very foundations of rural life, transforming village communities that were organized around kinship and status hierarchies into segments of large bureaucratic organizations, forged by the language of “class warfare” yet saturated with vindictive personal struggles.


Collectivization not only overturned property relations, the authors argue, but was crucial in creating the Party-state that emerged, its mechanisms of rule, and the “new persons” that were its subjects. The book explores how ill-prepared cadres, themselves unconvinced of collectivization’s promises, implemented technologies and pedagogies imported from the Soviet Union through actions that contributed to the excessive use of force, which Party leaders were often unable to control. In addition, the authors show how local responses to the Party’s initiatives compelled the regime to modify its plans and negotiate outcomes.


Drawing on archival documents, oral histories, and ethnographic data, Peasants under Siege sheds new light on collectivization in the Soviet era and on the complex tensions underlying and constraining political authority.


Awards and Recognition

  • Winner of the 2013 SRS Book Prize, The Society for Romanian Studies
  • Winner of the 2012 Heldt Prize for Best Book by a Woman in any area of Slavic/Eastern European/Eurasian Studies, Association for Women in Slavic Studies
  • Winner of the 2012 Davis Center Book Prize in Political and Social Studies, Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
  • Winner of the 2012 Barbara Jelavich Book Prize, The Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
  • Honorable Mention for the 2012 Wayne S. Vucinich Book Prize, The Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
  • One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2012
  • Honorable Mention for the 2012 Barrington Moore Award, Comparative and Historical Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association
  • Honorable Mention for the 2012 Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Award, Political Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association