When it appeared in 1983, Caroline Humphrey's Karl Marx Collective was the first detailed study of the Soviet collective farm system. Through careful ethnographic work on two collective farms operated in Buryat communities in Siberia, the author presented an absorbing--if dispiriting--account of the actual functioning of a planned economy at the local level.
Now this classic work is back in print in a revised edition that adds new material from the author's most recent research in the former Soviet Union. In two new chapters she documents what has happened to the two farms in the collapsing Russian economy. She finds that collective farms are still the dominant agricultural forms, not out of nostalgic sentiment or loyalty to the Soviet ideal, but from economic and political necessity.
Today the collectives are based on households and small groups coming together out of choice. There have been important resurgences in "traditional" thinking about kinship, genealogy, shamanism and mountain cults; and yet all of this is newly formed by its attempt to deal with post-Soviet realities.
Marx Went Away will appeal to students and scholars of anthropology, political science, economics, and sociology.
"The book should be on the shelf of every student of Soviet affairs." --Times Literary Supplement
Caroline Humphrey is Fellow of King's College and Lecturer in Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge.