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argument
1. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 8
Luciana M. Jinga Voices of Women on the Two Sides of the Iron Curtain: Agents, Agency, Sources
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i. depicting gender in communist magazines
2. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 8
Julia Mead, Kristen Ghodsee Debating Gender in State Socialist Women’s Magazines: the Cases of Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia
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Contrary to the accepted Cold War stereotypes about state socialist mass women’s organizations, we will show that Communist leaders were attentive to the construction of gender roles and used women’s magazines as a forum to discuss openly the changing ideals of masculinity and femininity. Through a discourse analysis of articles in Vlasta (Czechoslovakia) and Zhenata Dnes (Bulgaria), our article will interrogate the categories of “man” and “woman” and their negotiation during the Communist era on the pages of official state magazines. In the Bulgarian case, we will discuss key articles that explicitly dealt with the importance of fathers and fatherhood, as for the case of Czechoslovakia, we will examine a series of articles and letters in which women’s union leaders and ordinary citizens discuss women’s entry into the workforce that had previously been the purview of men.
3. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 8
Graziano Mamone The Big Contradiction. Feminism and Communism in the Magazine Lotta Continua. 1968-1978
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A new feminist ideology can be outlined by examining the magazine “Lotta Continua”, official newspaper of the homonymous Italian extra-parliamentary group. Riots in factories and universities were closely reported in the magazine, which painted a society still affected by strong gender inequalities. Split between an opposition to official communism and the spontaneity of the working class conflict, women emerged from family isolation. The great achievements of the Italian feminist movement were reported according to the point of view of the dissident communism. While in Italy the feminist movement was on the rise, the organisation was approaching its end, also due to its conflict with feminist protests. This paper wants to re-construct the image and the representation of left-wing feminism, in a crucial moment for the history of Italian society and communism.
4. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 8
Luciana M. Jinga Comrade First, Baba Second: State Violence against Women in Communist Romania
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The paper focuses on the manifestations of structural and symbolic violence against women during the communist regime by addressing the most important mechanisms and embedded beliefs that allowed the proliferation of spousal violence in communist Romania, in what I see as a continuation of the interwar patriarchal state, and a bridge to the new discriminatory policies developed by the democratic structures, after 1990.
ii. activist women for or against
5. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 8
Ágota Lídia Ispán Peasant Women in Public Life and in Politics in the Rákosi Era: The First Woman főispán’s Career in Hungary
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‘Woman questions’ were emphasized in common speech during the time of the party-state in Hungary. In the 1950s this was symbolized by women tractor drivers, Stakhanovites in construction industry, or women who were present in public life and in politics. Mrs Mihály Berki, née Magdolna Szakács was one of the first emblematic female politicians who was appointed the first peasant woman főispán [honorary prefect] from a village at the end of 1948. The central elements of her life story were the social and geographical mobility: how could she adapt to the new roles and environments? What kind of competences did she need? How did she acquire them? Did the image of a peasant woman politician with a kerchief change during her career? I intend to outline a wider social context in connection with the determining features of her career such as her being a female, her peasant background and her institutional socialization.
6. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 8
Łukasz Bertram Widows of the Revolution: Women in Polish Political Elite 1949–1956
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The aim of this article is to present the collective portrait of the 40 women occupying the highest posts in the communist party and state apparatus in Poland during the Stalinist period. It focuses on the vast majority of people involved in the communist movement, while it also examines the cases of Socialists and women from the younger generation. The first part of the study presents the milieus they came from, their educational and professional careers and – above all – the motivations and patterns of their political engagement. The second part engages with their position in the structures of power, as well as the circumstances of their political advances and declines. The key biographical category is that of “widowhood”, understood both literally – considering the percentage of women whose husbands were killed by Soviets or Germans – and symbolically – as a bitter disappointment with the Idea and its realization.
7. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 8
Iemima Ploscariu Rhetoric and Ritual: Neo-Protestant Women and Gender Equality in Communist Romania
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In communist Romania, as in other Central and East European communist countries, women became fellow workers in the building of the new proletariat state. However, there was a discrepancy between state rhetoric and the treatment of women in reality. Though not the most targeted faith group in communist Romania, neo-Protestant women faced, nevertheless, multiple levels of marginalization, due to their sex and to their religion. These women re-appropriated the state’s gender equality rhetoric and, along with their faith, produced a sense of personal agency, which allowed them to overcome barriers in their various communities.
8. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 8
Jan A. Burek From Party Leaders to Social Outcasts: Women’s Political Activism during the Establishment of Communist Power in a Polish Industrial Town (Żyrardów, 1945-1948)
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The author presents the changing role of women and of the attitudes towards them in the PWP (the Polish Workers’ Party) and the PSP (the Polish Socialist Party) in a midsize industrial town in Central Poland in the years 1945-1948. During the war, women of the PWP were promoted to the highest positions in the party structures, however, due to the quick reaffirmation of gender roles in the post-1945 period, they were relegated to lower posts. Their political influence was thereafter limited solely to the care sector which was considered their natural domain. In turn, the PSP gained importance in the post-war period only after A. Tomaszewska, a woman and an influential prewar labour organizer, took charge of it in 1946. Under her leadership, the Socialists renewed their ties with women workers of the town’s main textile factory and challenged the Communist party.
9. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 8
Natalia Jarska Women Communists and the Polish Communist Party: from “Fanatic” Revolutionaries to Invisible Bureaucrats (1918-1965)
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The paper aims at tracing a collective portrait and the trajectories of a group of about forty women active in the communist movement after Poland had regained independence (1918), and after the Second World War. I explore the relations between gender, communist activity, and the changing circumstances of the communist movement (conspiracy/state socialism). I argue that interwar activities shaped women communists as radical, uncompromising, and questioning traditional femininity political agents, accepted as comrades at every organisational level. This image and identity, though, contributed to the creation of the gender division of political work after the war, when women were assigned specific roles as guardians of revolutionary past. The post-war situation of state socialism with the communist party as the ruling party assigned women mainly to invisible, secondary positions.
10. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 8
Rachele Ledda The Season of Transgression Is Over?: The Union of Italian Women and the Italian Communist Party: Reaction, Negotiation and Sanctioned Struggles in Local and Global Context 1944-1963
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This contribution aims to outline the birth and development of the Unione Donne Italiane (UDI) in regard to its relations with the Partito Comunista Italiano (PCI) from 1944 to 1963.The present research has drawn mainly from archival sources.UDI was born as a multi-party women’s organization but the hegemony of the Communist women would de facto bring it under the influence of the PCI. The Italian Communist Party tried to perform a normative and normalizing task. By the logic of the Cold War, women were relegated to deal mainly with the defence of peace, both nationally and internationally.From the international point of view, UDI was among the founding organizations of the Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF). Gradually, the Unione began to accrue dissent even within the WIDF, leading to an internal struggle on the path to emancipation that the organization was already developing within its national context.
11. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 8
Ştefan Bosomitu Fighting their War during a “Foreign” War: Women anti-Fascist/Communist Activism during World War II in Romania
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The article discusses this intricate issue of women’s anti-Fascist/communist activism during World War II in Romania. I am particularly interested in the relationship that developed between the Romanian Communist Party and the women who joined the movement in the complicated context of World War II. The article is attempting to assess whether women’s increased involvement in the communist organization was due to the previous and continuous politics of the RCP, or it was a mere consequence of unprecedented circumstances. The article also addresses issues related to the legacy of the anti-Fascist/communist women’s struggle during World War II, in their attempt to establish postwar public careers, but also the manner in which their efforts and activisms were recognized and/or recompensed (or not) after the war.
iii. his narratives – her narration: women in texts
12. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 8
Agnieszka Mrozik Communism as a Generational Herstory: Reading Post-Stalinist Memoirs of Polish Communist Women
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The objective of this article is to revise the dominating narrative of communism as male generational history. With the aid of memoirs of communist women, many of whom started their political activity before WWII and belonged to the power-wielding elites of Stalinist Poland, the author shows that the former constituted an integral part of the generation which had planned a revolution and ultimately took over power. Their texts were imbued with a matrilineal perspective on the history of communism: the authors emphasized that other women had strongly motivated them to become involved in politics. However, the memoirs revealed something more: as an attempt to establish new models of emancipation and to transmit them to younger generations of women, they were to rekindle the memory of women as the active agent of that part of Polish history which contemporary feminists refuse to remember.
13. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 8
Alexandr Fokin Women and Their “Radiant Future”: Construction of Communism in the USSR in Women’s Letters to the Government (1960s)
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In 1961, at the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, a new program of the C.P.S.U. was adopted. The adoption of the Third Program of the C.P.S.U. was accompanied by a “nationwide discussion”. People expressed their opinions regarding the draft of the new Program at meetings and lectures and in their letters to various institutions.Naturally, not all the women actively demanded changes; for some there was probably no such thing as “women’s communism”. However, the individual and collective letters attest to the complex of expectations that may be analyzed within the conceptual framework of “women’s communism”.The body of letters to various publications illustrate the most popular measures which, according to the letter writers, should have been implemented during the period of the “full-scale construction of communism” and, therefore, were thought of as intrinsic elements of communism.
14. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 8
Anna Carr Post-Stalinist Body Economy: Female Corporeality, Desire, and Schizophrenia
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The article provides an argument on the Soviet system of the early post-Stalinist years reflected in Haidamaky by Yurii Mushketyk. Through the concept of “body economy” inspired by Deleuze and Guattari’s schizoanalysis, it investigates the case of the female corporeality hidden in the novel. The article contests that the female body is part of the economy of desire flows which connected it to the male body. It also states that, after the death of Stalin, the reorganised Soviet regime demonstrates schizophrenic states as reflected in Mushketyk’s Haidamaky.
15. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 8
Iva Jelušić The Mother in the Yugoslav Partisan Myth: Creative Revisions and Subversive Messages in Women-Centred Narratives
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The foundations of the narrative about the partisan war in socialist Yugoslavia (1941 – 1945) drew from the familiar tradition of folktales and prompted the moulding of a group of characters who, as a rule, followed a pre-established sequence of events, offering a rather polished image of the People’s Liberation Struggle (Narodnooslobodilačka borba, NOB). This paper will focus on one archetype that found its place in the war myth–the partisan mother. The aim of the paper is to illustrate how the women who experienced the armed conflict in Yugoslavia described women’s wartime engagement. More specifically, it shows the extent of their participation in the promotion of the officially established image of the partisan mother and the aspects in which their narrative reimagined, enriched and challenged the heritage of the People’s Liberation Struggle.
book review
16. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 8
Ana Teodorescu Theatre, Globalization and the Cold War
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17. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 8
Notes on the Contributors
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argument
18. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 7
Dalia Báthory “Talkin’ bout a Revolution”
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The proclamation of liberal democracy as the absolute winner of the Cold War and the emergence of “prosecutorial” history after the fall of the Eastern Communist Bloc seemed to have established a certain path for researchers with regard to postwar dictatorships in Central and Eastern Europe. A closer look at the meaning of “revolution” as well as at new research efforts reveal strong connections between the East and the West during that time, that determined changes in the pattern and style of the scientific discourse analysing the post-war decades.
i. “make – believe”. communist propaganda and its impact on society
19. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 7
Enis Sulstarova “‘Eurocommunism is Anti-Communism”: The Attitude of the Party of Labour of Albania about Western Communism in the early 1980s
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Following the rift with China, Albania found itself on a lonely road towards pretending to protect the purity of the Marxism-Leninism in Europe. Although diplomatic relations with the West were restricted only to trade, the Albanian Communist leader, Enver Hoxha, was interested in recent developments inside Western Communist parties. Through Eurocommunist theorizations, the parties in Italy, France and Spain abandoned revolutionary aims, incorporated democracy in their ideology and tried to build electoral coalitions with socialist parties and other left-wing forces. By contrast, the Albanian Enver Hoxha considered that Communist revolution was still possible in the world, and the Communist parties still acted as Leninist revolutionary vanguards. From this perspective, he denounced Eurocommunism as a continuation of “revisionism”. This paper will present the attitude of the Party of Labour of Albania about Western Communism by placing it in its historical context and framing it in light of broader debates inside the European Communist movement.
20. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 7
Klejd Këlliçi, Ermira Danaj Promoting Equality, Perpetuating Inequality: Gender Propaganda in Communist Albania
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During Socialism, the “women’s issue” was among the key state policies in Albania. The emancipation issue followed a pattern similar to other socialist countries, called the “women’s emancipation model”. It was part both of the state rhetoric and the general need to include women in the “socialist transformative processes”. This involved policies that supported women’s participation in the productive labour force, as well as the introduction of new laws that promoted the equality between men and women.A reconfiguration of gender roles and the gender division of tasks occurred during socialism. In Albania, this process had two distinct phases. From 1944 onward women’s emancipation was thought of in terms of their participation as an additional force in the post-war reconstruction effort, even though sporadic and aligned with the primary political needs of the regime. The second phase occurred during the ‘60s following the Party’s directive “For the complete emancipation of women” (1967). This phase was considered strategic as it coincided with the efforts to industrialize the country and to eventually fully centralize the control over the territory.This paper aims to investigate the entanglements between gender propaganda and gender practices. For this purpose, we analyse various party speeches and policies as well as examples of “heroines” and propaganda movies. A thorough analysis of State Archives and other documents was undertaken to substantiate this investigation.