• Shock Therapy: Psychology, Precarity, and Well-Being in Postsocialist Russia

    Author(s):
    Pages: 328
    Illustrations: 32 illustrations
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
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    978-0-8223-7061-1
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    978-0-8223-7076-5
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  • Acknowledgments  ix
    Prelude: Bury That Part of Oneself  xvii
    Introduction: An Yet . . .  1
    Part I. Biopoliticus Interruptus  31
    Interlude: Russian Shoes  33
    1. "Tears of Bitterness and Joy": The Haunting Subject in Soviet Biopolitics  37
    Part II. (In)Commensurability  67
    Interlude: Family Problems  69
    2. "Wait, and the Train Will Have Left": The Success Complex and Psychological Difference  71
    3. "Now, Finally, We are Starting to Relax": On Civilizing Missions and Democratic Desire  104
    4. "What Do We Have the Right to Do?": Tactical Guidance at a Social Margin  133
    Part III. In Search of a Politics  165
    Interlude: Public Spaces  167
    5. "I Can Feel His Tears": Psychosociality under Putin  171
    6. "Hello, Lena, You Are on the Air": Talk-Show Selves and the Dream of Public Intimacy  197
    Postlude: Subjects of Freedom  225
    Conclusion: And Yet . . . So What?  227
    Notes  243
    References  275
    Index  295
  • “A compelling ethnographic inquiry into psychotherapies that arose in Russia in the immediate post-Soviet moment, Shock Therapy examines forms of ‘self­-work’ that Russians employ to reckon with their futures in increasingly precarious times. Tomas Matza is especially attentive to the class differences and dynamics that psychological expertise reproduces and exacerbates, despite the progressive orientation of many of the experts. This central conundrum informs Matza’s reflections on the specific contexts, from public clinics for ‘problem children’ to radio talk shows, in which psychotherapy circulates in Russia today.” — Elizabeth Anne Davis, author of, Bad Souls: Madness and Responsibility in Modern Greece

    “In Shock Therapy Tomas Matza offers an extensive, richly elaborated, and wonderfully nuanced history of psychotherapy as a profession while carefully attending to the ways new notions of selfhood became incorporated into an array of psychotherapeutic approaches as market economics burst into Russia. Immensely important and ethnographically, historically, and theoretically innovative, Shock Therapy intervenes in key anthropological debates about affect, biopolitics, care, and neoliberalism.” — Michele Rivkin-Fish, author of, Women’s Health in Post-Soviet Russia: The Politics of Intervention

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  • Description

    After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia witnessed a dramatic increase in psychotherapeutic options, which promoted social connection while advancing new forms of capitalist subjectivity amid often-wrenching social and economic transformations. In Shock Therapy Tomas Matza provides an ethnography of post-Soviet Saint Petersburg, following psychotherapists, psychologists, and their clients as they navigate the challenges of post-Soviet life. Juxtaposing personal growth and success seminars for elites with crisis counseling and remedial interventions for those on public assistance, Matza shows how profound inequalities are emerging in contemporary Russia in increasingly intimate ways as matters of selfhood. Extending anthropologies of neoliberalism and care in new directions, Matza offers a profound meditation on the interplay between ethics, therapy, and biopolitics, as well as a sensitive portrait of everyday caring practices in the face of the confounding promise of postsocialist democracy.

    About The Author(s)

    Tomas Matza is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh.
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