Managing Buildings as a Regular “Business”?

Special Report: Working-Class Homeownership
Economic Provisions and Reluctance in the Co-ownership of a Collective Dwelling in Post-Communist Russia
By Hélène Richard

The privatization of the apartments for the benefit of legal occupants has turned the once-Soviet residential buildings into multi-owner properties. This article explores the appropriation of a new legal and economic model of building management by ordinary people living in Moscow. Similar to literature that focuses on the historical and social forces driving economic exchanges, some individuals are more likely to seize upon the new model. The article shows an in-depth, comparative case study of two women from different social backgrounds who became involved in their homeowners’ association. These two women illustrate extreme cases functioning as a microcosm of ordinary situations and help us shed light on intermediate cases as well. They underline how social and residential trajectories shape ordinary interpretation and uses of the law. This approach is an original way to study social construction of condominiums in post-Communist Russia.

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