In 1949, Romania’s fledgling communist regime unleashed a radical and brutal campaign to collectivize agriculture in this largely agrarian country, following the Soviet model. Peasants under Siege provides the first comprehensive look at the far-reaching social engineering process that ensued. Gail Kligman and Katherine Verdery examine how collectivization assaulted the very foundations of rural life, transforming village communities that were organized around kinship and status hierarchies into segments of large bureaucratic organizations, forged by the language of “class warfare” yet saturated with vindictive personal struggles.
Drawing on archival documents, oral histories, and ethnographic data, Peasants under Siege sheds new light on collectivization in the Soviet era and on the complex tensions underlying and constraining political authority.
Gail Kligman is professor of sociology and director of the Center for European and Eurasian Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Katherine Verdery is the Julien J. Studley Faculty Scholar and Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the City University of New York Graduate Center.