Gediminas Lankauskas’ new book The Land of Weddings and Rain: Nation and Modernity in Post-Socialist Lithuania (University of Toronto Press, 2015) is “an ethnography concerned with the ambiguities, paradoxes, ruptures and incongruities of social life brought about by processes of global 'modernization' in a periphery of post-socialist Eastern Europe” (5). In the book, Lankauskas explores Lithuanians’ pursuit of “modernity”, combining archival and ethnographic data. Anthropological theory problematizes both the perceived universal character of Western modernity and the expected, linear development for its achievement. Research in post-socialist countries is an important consideration in these discussions, as people there have already been exposed to more than one modernization projects during a short time span. Lankauskas explores how the multiple modernities which Lithuanians have dreamt of and experienced interact with each other, with “tradition” and with Lithuanianness. The author embeds this discussion in the context of the Lithuanian, urban wedding celebration, a rite of passage in which references to both the past and the future are salient.
Marina Kadriu is an international MA student in Anthropology at Simon Fraser University.