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Reviews

'...an unusually strong edited collection that will have an important impact on Post-Soviet studies but that will also find a high profile place for itself in the developing field of the anthropological study of Christianity … the first collection to focus on the spread of Protestantism, and particularly its Pentecostal and charismatic forms, in the Post-Soviet world.'
Joel Robbins, University of California, San Diego

Conversion After Socialism: disruptions, modernisms and technologies of faith in the former Soviet Union

Mathijs Pelkmans| (ed)
Berghahn Books (October 2009)

The large and sudden influx of missionaries into the former Soviet Union after seventy years of militant secularism has been controversial, and the widespread occurrence of conversion has led to anxiety about social and national disintegration. Although these concerns have been vigorously discussed in national arenas, social scientists have remained remarkably silent about the subject. This volume’s focus on conversion offers a novel approach to the dislocations of the postsocialist experience. In eight wellresearched ethnographic accounts the authors analyse a range of missionary encounters as well as aspects of conversion and ‘anti-conversion’ in different parts of the region, thus challenging the problematic idea that religious life after socialism involved a simple ‘revival’ of repressed religious traditions. Instead, they unravel the unexpected twists and turns of religious dynamics, and the processes that have challenged popular ideas about religion and culture. The contributions show how conversion is rooted in the disruptive qualities of the new ‘capitalist experience’ and document its unsettling effects on the individual and social level.

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Conversion After Socialism