Almantas Samalavičius

is associate editor of the Lithuanian cultural journal Kulturos Barai and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Architecture and Urbanism (Routledge) and Lituanus (Chicago). He holds a PhD in architectural history and theory and is a professor at Vilnius Gediminas Technical University and Vilnius University. He is the author of twelve books on architecture, urbanism, literature and higher education and has edited ten volumes of essays.


The pursuit of happiness

A conversation with economist Mark Anielski

The global debt crisis is encouraging economists and others to explore alternative ways of measuring national wealth and productivity. In conversation with Almantas Samalavicius, the economist Mark Anielski discusses the possibility of an economic system based on wellbeing rather than unlimited growth.

Future money

A conversation with James Robertson

Understanding the need to combine economics and ethics amounts to a “Copernican revolution”, says James Robertson, co-founder of the New Economics Foundation. The survival of our species depends on our making the money system work in ways that will “enable and conserve”.

Beyond contemporary economic thinking

A conversation with John B. Cobb

John B. Cobb, Methodist theologian and longstanding critic of the of the political-economic establishment, talks to Kulturos barai editor Almantas Samalavicius about his communitarian and ecology-based critique of neoliberalism and the potential for world religions to inform an alternative.

American priest, politician and social activist Bob Massie talks about how the writings of Ernst Friedrich Schumacher can inform a transition to an alternative economy and why the author of Small is Beautiful still has something to say to a secularized, European audience.

Ideology never ends

An interview with sociologist Daniel Chirot

Eastern Europe as such was never “backward” and marginality is the least of the region’s problems, argues Daniel Chirot. While some countries have shaken off the “post-communist” tag, in others it remains apt; meanwhile, new disparities are generating a leftwing revival that show pronouncements of the end of ideology to have been rash.

Gerard Delanty is one of Europe’s leading figures in the field of sociology whose work encompasses a variety of theoretical themes and subjects. The first of his numerous books, Inventing Europe: Idea, Identity, Reality (1995) was a significant, timely and challenging contribution to the European discourse. Almantas Samalavicius asks Delanty to revisit the ideas set forward in this thought-provoking, polemical work.

Lured by the promise of formal freedom, Lithuanian architects in the Soviet period colluded in the destruction of swathes of Vilnius’s historical centre. Once a rallying point of the independence movement, Vilnius’s Baroque and Gothic urban heritage is now subject to a new onslaught from local finance capital – and no one seems to care.

The understanding of the role of higher education that characterized the Soviet era has been reborn in post-Soviet Lithuania as a blind drive towards utility, writes Almantas Samalavicius. The hard sciences have won the struggle over state funding at the expense of the humanities, while falling standards have caused an ongoing brain-drain to the West. The most recent reforms indicate that the only remedy on offer is based on the logic of the market, as Lithuanian universities steadily go the way of the rest of “common property” after independence.

The literary field in Lithuania has established itself since independence, despite vastly smaller print runs and the onslaught of the mass media. Today, a range of literary approaches can be made out, writes Almantas Samalavicius, from the black humour and social criticism of the middle generation to the more private, realistic narratives of the post-Soviet generation.

An amorphous society

Lithuania in the era of high post-communism

The period of “high post-communism” in eastern Europe is defined by efforts to control collective memory, political discourse dominated by abstract concepts, dilettantism, and the cult of entertainment. Writing from the Lithuanian perspective, Almantas Samalavicius finds society caught in between the extremes of hysterical activity and blind resignation.

National identity, culture and globalisation

Lithuania wakes up to a new social and cultural reality

In the academic and intellectual Lituanian debate, globalisation and Europeanisation is often regarded as a deadly threat to the national culture, an “evil mission”. Almantas Samalavicius looks at the arguments and proposes a completely diffent concept of identity.

Greek philosophy, Roman law and Christianity. Are these the only cornerstones of European culture? Almantas Samalavicius muses on the existence of a common European culture and the Central and Eastern European states’ part in it.

Intellectuals have always played different functions in society – both revered and despised by society and often persecuted by the state. Almantas Samalavicius looks at the social and political standing of intellectuals during the communist regime and now.

The transition period has led in Lithuania to a decay of communal identity and civic solidarity: As everywhere else, the euphoria over the fall of the Soviet regime has died down and given in to disillusionment with the new political elites. Almantas Samalavicius asks how this change in tangible in the way Lithuania is writing and re-writing history in post-communist Lithuania.

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