Gender Politics and Everyday Life in State Socialist Eastern and Central Europe

Gender Politics and Everyday Life in State Socialist Eastern and Central Europe

by S. Penn
     
 
This book showcases extensive research on gender under state socialism, examining the subject in terms of state policy and law; sexuality and reproduction; the academy; leisure; the private sphere; the work world; opposition activism; and memory and identity.

Overview

This book showcases extensive research on gender under state socialism, examining the subject in terms of state policy and law; sexuality and reproduction; the academy; leisure; the private sphere; the work world; opposition activism; and memory and identity.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The commonly held view that women in Communist Eastern Europe uniformly suffered under the double or triple burden of paid work, household duties, and child care gets a more nuanced examination in this collection. Many essays are based on interviews with women who lived through those years and reveal their lives in all their complexity . . .overall the collection is rewarding for its insights and exposure of women s lived experiences." - Publisher s Weekly

"This book enriches our understanding of the legacies of state socialism and the ways in which gender in these societies even today continues to be shaped by the living practices of the past. This is a robust and broad-ranging set of studies that remind us not only of the failures of socialism but also alert us to the ways in which women s lives were changed and indeed empowered because of the opportunities and challenges of that era." - Jean C. Robinson, Professor of Political Science, Indiana University

"This volume offers a comprehensive and unique portrait of women living under socialism, capturing in a distinctive way the multiplicity of tensions in everyday life that provided new opportunities and resources to women (and for that matter, to men also), in an omnipresent state that forced upon them certain ideologies and limitations. This volume provides an extraordinary opportunity to hear women s voices and learn through their lives about the ambiguities of socialism." - Joanna Regulska, Professor of Women s and Gender Studies and Geography, Rutgers University

Publishers Weekly
The commonly held view that women in Communist Eastern Europe uniformly suffered under the double or triple burden of paid work, household duties, and child care gets a more nuanced examination in this collection. Many essays are based on interviews with women who lived through those years and reveal their lives in all their complexity. For example, Basia Nowak details how members of the Polish League of Women felt supported in their traditional roles as mothers and wives as well as benefiting from revolutionary ideas of women's equality. Ana Hoffman's interviews with rural women in Serbian Yugoslavia reveals how they gained self-esteem and a measure of freedom from patriarchal control by participating in state-supported folk song festivals. Raluca Maria Popa describes the crucial role women activists in Hungary and Romania played in creating the U.N.'s International Women's Year in 1975. Co-editor Penn's interviews with two Polish women activists from two generations highlight how feminism developed within varying political and personal contexts. In Bulgaria, Ulf Brunnbauer analyzes how women actually functioned within the contradictions of Communist rhetoric of equality and preindustrial gender expectations just a generation away. A few articles suffer from academic language, but overall the collection is rewarding for its insights and exposure of women's lived experiences.
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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780230613003
Publisher:
Palgrave Macmillan US
Publication date:
01/29/2010
Edition description:
2009
Pages:
292
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Shana Penn is a visiting scholar in Jewish studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. She is the author of Solidarity’s Secret: The Women Who Defeated Communism in Poland (2005), which was awarded the Heldt Prize for Best Book in Slavic/East European/Eurasian/Women’s Studies by the Association of Women in Slavic Studies. Currently Penn is working on a book of oral histories of Czech women dissidents in Charter 77 and teaching and writing about Polish Jewish history.

Jill Massino received her PhD in East European and Cultural History from Indiana University. She is currently a visiting scholar in the history department at Northwestern University and is working on a book on gender and and everyday life in socialist and post-socialist Romania.

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