The Readers of Novyi Mir, 1948-1969: A Social Portrait


 Denis Kozlov, Dalhousie University


In this working paper, on the basis of several thousand archival readers' letters from all over the Soviet Union, I draw a social portrait of the reading audience of the lending Soviet literary journal Novyi mr from the late 1940's to the late 1960's.  I discuss in detail such characteristics as gender, age, ethnicity, party and Komosomol membership, places of residence, occupations, backgrounds, as well as certain relationships between these characteristics and the tactics of the leter-writers' verbal self-expression.

Contextual Constitution of Behavior: Introducing the HPV Vaccine in Eastern Europe


 Irina Todorova, Northeastern University

 Adriana Baban, Babes-Bolyai University


We are in a time in which we can observe the initial introduction of a much debated new pharmaceutical - the HPV vaccine for the potential prevention of cancers in men and women.  The vaccine embodies a vast array of personal and cultural meanings and discourses, including those of responsibility, control, morality, gender, and sexual behavior.  It also represents multiple interests of many actors (adolescents, parents, physicians, pharmaceutical companies, policymakers).  Their attitudes vary depending on local meanings of sexuality, religious beliefs beliefs, stigma, their experiences and trust in the health care system.  People are not showing up for vaccination in the numbers that public health officials would like to see, or are refusing to administer it to their children.  This situation offers the opportunity to explore the importance of context in explaining and understanding people's motivations and decisions for health-related behaviors and particularly - vaccination.  Health behaviors are understandable or "acquire meaning and significance on the basis of their relationship to the broader social practices".  In this sense, people's decisions regarding health protective behaviors might not conform to rationalistic understandings, or might seem "irrational" or "misinformed", yet make sense when considering the situations which are constitutive of them and the symbolic meanings which they embody.  In this paper we will discuss the contextual aspects of attitudes and behaviors of prevention, disparities in access and implications for prevention, particularly through vaccination with the HPV vaccine.  We will address the relevance of history, healthcare policy and gendered attitudes in Eastern Europe, for the constitution of preventive attitudes and behaviors.

Political Imagination and Imperial Sovereignty: The Case of Kazan


 Jane Burbank, New York University


In the spring of 1991, campaigning in Tatarstan for the presidency of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, Boris Yeltsin pronounced his famous phrase, "Take as much sovereignty as you can swallow." Many aspects of the political moment were novel to Yeltsin, his listeners, and Soviet citizens generally. The Communist Party, after what later turned out to have been its last party conference in July 1990, no longer claimed a monopoly on political representation. Yeltsin, a successful insider self-transformed into an ardent and flamboyant critic of the Soviet leadership, had left the party and was running against an array of Communist candidates. Most radically, this was the first time the leader of the Russian Republic, the largest of the fifteen "union" republics that composed the Soviet Union, was to be elected directly by popular vote. Nothing was politics as usual for Soviet citizens at the time, although no one knew that the country would disappear, along with Communist power, by the end of the year. But still what would possess a political activist running for president of the Russian Republic to invite people in the Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, a sub-unit of the Russian federal republic with a large non-Russian population, to stake as big a claim as possible on political authority?


Doctors' and Parents' Perspectives on Communication Regarding the HPV Vaccination in Bulgaria


 Elitsa Dimitrova, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

 Yulia Panayotova, Health Psychology Research Center

 Anna Alexandrova-Karamanova, Health Psychology Research Center

 Irina Todorova, Northeastern University


Decisions for HPV vaccination depends on the effective dialog between provider and patient, as well as on social network and family support.  In Bulgaria, a country without an organized program for cervical screening and vaccination, the topic of HPV vaccination has recently been receiving increased public recognition and local meanings of vaccinations are emerging.

Inflation Uncertainty and the Decision to Devalue: Survey Evidence from Bulgaria


 Neven Valev, Georgia State University, and Menna Bizuneh


Theory predicts that a fixed exchange rate regime will be abandoned after a sizable economic shock as currency devaluation serves to stimulate exports and output. This comes at the cost of higher inflation. While that prediction is generally consistent with reality, it also appears that many emerging markets resist devaluation despite substantial economic hardship. This paper proposes that the reluctance to devalue could stem from uncertainty about the control over inflation after devaluation. In countries with long-standing currency pegs as well as in countries where the fixed exchange rate was preceded by high inflation, central banks have little credibility. The uncertainty about the consequences of monetary policy raises the threshold of economic pain that could convince the policymakers to devalue. The paper develops this argument in a rules-vs-discretion theoretical framework. Empirical analyses based on survey data from Bulgaria support our hypothesis.


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