Imagined Economies: The Sources of Russian Regionalism. By Yoshiko M. Herrera. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005. 318p. $75.00.
In her book Yoshiko Herrera crafts an impressive theoretical argument by first noting and then rectifying an important intellectual inconsistency in contemporary studies of nationalism. While these studies typically view identities as multiple and constructed, they nevertheless tend to treat economic interests as unproblematic and objective. Herrera challenges this assumption by arguing that economic understandings are constructed as well, and that these constructed views of economic interests will affect the relative propensity of substate regions to press for greater autonomy or secession. As she succinctly puts it, “The central argument of this book is that variation in regional activism is explained not by differences in structural economic conditions but by differences in understandings of the economy, which, in particular institutional contexts, resulted in differences in the imagination of economic interests” (p. 11).
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