Building Civil Society in Out-of-the-Way Places
This chapter examines how seemingly out-of-the-way places such as forests, villages, and dacha communities might be better understood as at the center of Russian daily life. It specifically suggests that it is in the natural world that the new values of a Russian postsocialist modern democracy—the ideals of freedom, autonomy, liberty, and civil association, in particular—emerge most vividly and with greatest effect. The organic life emerges as a form of civil society that shapes everyday life in Russia. Dacha communities are typically a hybrid of formal and informal bureaucratic organization. Tensions between the public and the private characterize dachniki's efforts to manage carefully the intimacy and sociality of dacha life. Dachas have served both as symbolic mediums for political currents and as practical sites for the enactment of political activities.
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