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The demise of state socialism created unprecedented opportunities for qualitative sociological and anthropological research into the societies and cultures of the former `Soviet block`. Studies have revealed complex and diverse societies which challenge previous understandings of the experiences of state socialism, as well as presenting a range of experiences, practices and responses to `post-socialist` transformations. This course will query the meanings of `post-socialism` both examining and questioning the impacts of `shared` historical legacies. Focusing on case studies of gender, class, social security and care, the course will explore growing inequalities in the contemporary period and the ways in which practices, relationships and experiences are shaped by both local and global socio-economic and political structures and by socio-cultural expectations and understandings of what is possible and acceptable for different groups of people. The course will also draw students` attention to the ways in which `knowledge` is created and the biases and silences which can arise as a result. Students will be encouraged to explore a range of methodologies and approaches by which people`s experiences and understandings of and responses to social and cultural change can be studied and analysed..