McElvain Library Catalog
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List(s) this item appears in: Staley Prize - Best in Anthropology
Current location Call number Status Date due Barcode Item holds
Main library collection
Staley Prize shelf
REF 334 Humphrey 1983 Not For Loan t 18252
Main library collection
334 Hum Available 0004119
Total holds: 0

Includes index.

Bibliography: p. 497-514.

This is the first ethnography based on fieldwork in a Soviet community by a Western anthropologist.. The book describes the contemorary life of the Buryats, a Mongolian-speaking people in Siberia, through a detailed analysis of Buryat communities on two collective farms visited by the author. Utilizing perspectives from a variety of disciplines Caroline Humphrey gives a total picture of the formation of a community's mentality in the Soviet Union today.

After describing the historical traditions and the ethnic relations of the Buryats, Dr. Humphrey sets out the official theoretical model of the Soviet collective farm, its statutes and forms of social control. The rest of the book is devoted to an analysis of how far the reality of the collective farm does conform to the model; in what respects it does not; and how the Buryats respond to the inconsistencies between theory and reality. Among the problems explored are the political and economic strategies required by the difference between the product demanded of a farm by the plan, and its actual capacity to produce; the transformation of traditional Buryat kinship in response to its new uses in Soviet society; and the role of religion in expressing or reconciling the divorce between theory and practice.

By making use of her own field-work as well as an extensive literature Dr Humphrey is able to present a detailed, sympathetic and absorbing account o f the actual functioning of a planned economy at the local level.

J.I. Staley Prize, 1990.

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