The Vanishing Hectare
Property and Value in Postsocialist Transylvania
by Katherine Verdery
2011 J. I. Staley Prize
Katherine Verdery’s The Vanishing Hectare encompasses more than a decade of research in the Romanian agricultural village of Aurel Vlaicu. She examines transformations in socialist and post-socialist property regimes, and argues for a socially embedded understanding of the concept of property itself that arcs across both historical themes. Based on long-term fieldwork and masterful synthesis of political economy, ethnography and history, Verdery’s book offers a powerful critique of the economic logic of neo-liberal development schemes, while revealing the dynamics of change and everyday realities for agricultural families in the post-socialist world.
Katherine Verdery, Professor of Anthropology, CUNY Graduate Center