What happens to a society when the base of its social, economic and political life changes profoundly? Social anthropologist Kristina Sliavaite of Lund university (Sweden) recently published her dissertation ”From Pioneers to Target Group: Social Change, Ethnicity and Memory in a Lithuanian Nuclear Power Plant Community”, the homepage of the anthropology institute at Lund informs.
The nuclear power plant Ignalina has been the backbone of the town Visaginas in Lithuania. The Russian employees, sent to construct the town and the plant often considered themselves a social elite. But the power plant, the backbone of the community, will close down in 2010.
Sliavaite reminds of us of the social factors of our economy. A job is not only a job:
- Many of the Ignalina employees are facing an uncertain future with the closing of the power plant. Not only their incomes but their identity and social status are under threat. Structural change have also brought their share of social problems, notably, poverty, drug- and alcohol abuse.