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Bourdieu's Secret Admirer in the Caucasus: A World-System Biography [Paperback]

Georgi M Deluguian
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

2 Aug 2005
Bourdieu's Secret Admirer in the Caucasus is a gripping account of the developmental dynamics involved in the collapse of Soviet socialism. Fusing a narrative of human agency to his critical discussion of structural forces, Georgi M. Derluguian reconstructs from firsthand accounts the life story of Musa Shanib who from a small town in the Caucasus grew to be a prominent leader in the Chechen revolution. In his examination of Shanib and his keen interest in the sociology of Pierre Bourdieu, Derluguian discerns how and why this dissident intellectual became a nationalist warlord. Exploring globalization, democratization, ethnic identity, and international terrorism, Derluguian contextualizes Shanib's personal trajectory from de-Stalinization through the nationalist rebellions of the 1990s, to the recent rise in Islamic militancy. He masterfully reveals not only how external economic and political forces affect the former Soviet republics but how those forces are in turn shaped by the individuals, institutions, ethnicities, and social networks that make up those societies. Drawing on the work of Charles Tilly, Immanuel Wallerstein, and, of course, Bourdieu, Derluguian's explanation of the recent ethnic wars and terrorist acts in Russia succeeds in illuminating the role of human agency in shaping history. (20051012)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press (2 Aug 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226142833
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226142838
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 783,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Derluguian is endowed with a special ability to show how the grinding wheels of world history affect actual human lives." - William H. McNeill, author of Plagues and Peoples and Pursuit of Power"

About the Author

Georgi M. Derluguian is associate professor in the Department of Sociology and the International Studies Program at Northwestern University. He is coeditor of Questioning Geopolitics.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great book 1 Dec 2008
By Nicu
excellent book. the story of north and south caucasus, elite changes and intellectual processes behind the dissolution of the ussr and conflicts in abkhazia, nagorno-karabakh and the north caucasus. all told through the story of musa shanib with a great combination of sociology, political science, biography, and good prose. excellent book for anyone interested in the caucasus.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Well written & erudite 28 Feb 2013
This is a very well written book by an erudite Sociologist/ Political Scientist with a personal knowledge of the region. By focusing on the ironic career of a Young Communist turned Islamist turned Bourdieu-reading ineffectual provincial professor, the author demonstrates both the relevance and futility of the Left wing Sociology/World Systems theory which took the events of 1968 as its inspiration.
Derlugian equates Globalisation with neo-liberal quacks with their gimcrack policy prescriptions and saves the Leftist program by passing the blame to 'sub-proletarians'- i.e. people who don't derive all their income from a formal sector job- on the one hand and the 'capitalists in spite of themselves' in the nomenklatura- i.e. Party bosses who managed to cling onto power with the aid of cronies who now are oligarchs.
Unfortunately, this analysis is not persuasive- one wonders whether Derlugian is tipping us the wink that he has his own career to make and therefore is being forced to repeat the usual anti-globalization slogans while presenting us with material which militates to the opposite conclusion- but since this book includes short, illuminating, jargon-free summaries of the views of a very large number of recent scholars, both Anglophone and Continental, this is a very worthwhile read. Like Tilley, Wallerstein, Bourdieu et al, Derlugian's predictions were utterly wrong- but, clearly, his heart is in the right place. He is completely free of any bias towards his own ethnicity or religion and this, by itself, says something very positive about the region of the world he comes from.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Verso didn't publish this book 6 Jun 2005
Although this book was once scheduled for publication by Verso, that never happened. It was actually published in June 2005 by the University of Chicago Press under the complete title: Bourdieu's Secret Admirer in the Caucasus: A World-System Biography. Look for that listing of the book on Amazon/UK. Thanks.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing 21 Oct 2011
By Damia - Published on Amazon.com
Having lived in the Caucasus during Georgia's illegal invasion of Abkhazia in the 1990s, it was good to read for once a book which captured a lot of what was going on in that time, as well as what was happening in Chechnya. This is for the serious reader who is an avid fan of sociology; otherwise, you may not enjoy this book if you are looking for quick facts and ideas. It was also good to read about the leader of the Confederation of Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus, Mr. Shaniba (a figure that deserves more attention and respect). I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in these topics.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great and well researched book 12 Aug 2013
By Boris Harutyunyan - Published on Amazon.com
This is a very well researched book with many details, giving a clear picture of what was going on. Very illuminating.
3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Try Tishkov's book instead 21 Oct 2010
By Brian Siegel - Published on Amazon.com
This book claims to offer a brilliant synthesis of Bourdieu, Wallerstein, and Tilley. I don't remember encountering anything of the sort. Does globalization cause ethnic violence? Not so much as the old Soviet system of governance, in which each district is named after the dominant ethnic group. Once the central government collapses, each district becomes an ethnic homeland, and outsiders are no longer welcome. This is exactly what happened in the old Yugoslavia. In truth, Bourdieu, Wallerstein, and Tilley have nothing to do with Derlugian's explanation of Chechnya's history. I found this book to be an exercise in tedious, self-indulgent, self-absorbed, and pedantic name-dropping. If you want to know what happened in Chechnya, I would suggest Valerii Tishkov's CHECHNYA: lIFE IN A WAR-TORN SOCIETY (2004).
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