Women, the State and Revolution: Soviet Family Policy and Social Life, 1917-1936

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Focusing on how women, peasants and orphans responded to Bolshevk attempts to remake the family, this text reveals how, by 1936, legislation designed to liberate women had given way to increasingly conservative solutions strengthening traditional family values.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...a valuable investigation of issues central to the Soviet regime's claim for seven decades of liberating women and fostering freer, more equal relations between the sexes....The book should be read by all serious students of the Soviet period." Choice

"Goldman's hard-hitting book traces the reversal of the Bolshevik prerevolutionary vision 'based on four primary precepts: free union, women's emancipation through wage labor, the socialization of housework, and the withering away of the family.' Goldman writes entertainingly without compromising her scholarship." Women East-West

"...an admirable examination of the tension between reality and ideal in family policy in the first two decades of the Soviet state....the wealth of detail and extent of analysis make this a useful book for historians of family, family policy and of the early Soviet Union." Susannah Lockwood Smith, WHOM Newsletter

"In her intelligent and sympathetic book, Wendy Goldman studies the reaction of the Bolsheviks to what they saw as the 'conservatism' of Russian women, for whom neither migration nor employment had changed their traditional dependence on husband and family....contribute[s] in novel ways to thinking about an old, but fundamental aspect of the Revolution, namely, the extent of the continuity and change across the 1917 divide....should convince sceptics that a study of gender differences can deepen our understanding of the relation between social and political change in general." S. A. Smith, Times Literary Supplement

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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of tables
1 The origins of the Bolshevik vision: Love unfettered, women free 1
2 The first retreat: Besprizornost and socialized child rearing 59
3 Law and life collide: Free union and the wage-earning population 101
4 Stirring the sea of peasant stagnation 144
5 Pruning the "bourgeois thicket": Drafting a new Family Code 185
6 Sexual freedom or social chaos: The debate on the 1926 Code 214
7 Controlling reproduction: Women versus the state 254
8 Recasting the vision: The resurrection of the family 296
Conclusion: Stalin's oxymorons: Socialist state, law, and family 337
Index 345
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