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Feminisms and Politics in the Interwar Period

The Little Entente of Women (1923–1938)

Katerina Dalakoura

Abstract

The primary goals of the Little Entente of Women were to hammer out a common agenda and joint strategies for the promotion of women's demands in the respective countries, and to create favorable conditions for socioeconomic, cultural, and political cooperation among the member states. This article addresses the latter goal of the LEW, based on the position that its objectives were deeply political, interwoven with contemporary political challenges in the region, and intersected with the foreign affairs policies of the associated countries. To support this position, the article explores the historical and political circumstances at the foundation of the LEW, the entanglements of its feminist strategies with regional diplomacy and politics and, lastly, focusing on the “Greek case,” the relationship between the foreign policy of the Greek state and the political initiatives of the Greek LEW member.

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The Importance of Public Policy for Regulating Post-Retirement Employment in Israel

Erez Cohen

Abstract

The accelerated and consistent rise in life expectancy and the growing needs of elderly people who are required to support themselves for more years are leading to a conspicuous increase in the number of older workers who choose to remain in the labor market after reaching the official retirement age. The study indicates the distinct incompatibility between this policy and the needs of post-retirement age employees and proposes a list of changes aimed at adapting the policy to the current reality. The study stresses the significance of efficient public policy operating to regulate post-retirement employment for Israeli society in general and for older employees in particular. The research conclusions can contribute to shaping global public policy concerning the employment of older people.

Open access

Introduction

Religious Rituals’ Reflection of Current Social Conditions in the Middle East

Ingvild Flaskerud

Abstract

Peoples’ practising of religious ritual is never isolated from the social and political setting in which it takes place. It is therefore inevitable that ritual practice somehow contends with the current social context. Examining Muslim ritual practices across the Middle East, the authors of the articles in this special issue discuss religious ritual as a tool for accomplishing something in the real world. They provide examples of which social concerns are addressed in ritual practice, who is involved and how the ritual practice is affected. The studies show that current ritual practices are embedded in multi-actor social spaces, and they also reflect on the ritual as a multi-actor space where the power to define ritual form, meaning and importance shifts between different categories of actors.

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Introduction

Maria Bucur, Katerina Dalakoura, Krassimira Daskalova, and Gabriela Dudeková Kováčová

Abstract

This Forum introduces an innovative topic: the short but rich story of the local network of Eastern European feminists, the Little Entente of Women (LEW), which so far has attracted little attention among historians working on the region. The four authors present their analysis through the prism of entangled history. The introduction contextualizes the creation and activities of the LEW by providing background information about the post-World War I period, the tensions and struggles between the revisionist and antirevisionist states, and the entanglements between feminist and national goals and between nationalism and internationalism among women's movements and feminisms at the time.

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Invisible and Visible Shi'a

Ashura, State and Society in Kuwait

Thomas Fibiger

Abstract

The Twelver Shi'a in Kuwait constitute a minority amongst the country's population. Compared to the situation of Shi'a in the region, they enjoy a good position economically and politically. While this political aspect of their identity frequently has been highlighted in scholarly literature, little has been written about how Shi'a ritual life relates to the political and economic spheres of social life. In this article, I discuss the performance of the annual Shi'a Ashura ritual in relation to the political status of the Shi'as in Kuwait. I show that the Shi'as’ public enactment of the ritual is multifaceted and revolves around the issue of ritual visibility. Ritual performance demonstrates compliance with as well as contestations of state authorities’ identity policy regarding religion and nationality, contestations within the Shi'a community, and contentions in relation to other groups in Kuwait.

Open access

It's Complicated

The History of Sexuality in Eastern Europe Flourishes

Maria Bucur

Kristen Ghodsee, Why Women Have Better Sex under Socialism: And Other Arguments for Economic Independence, New York: Hachette, 2018, 356 pp, $17.99 (paperback), ISBN 9781645036364;

Kateřina Lišková, Sexual Liberation, Socialist Style: Communist Czechoslovakia and the Science of Desire, 1945–1989, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2018, 293 pp, $31.99 (paperback), ISBN 9781108341332;

Agnieszka Kościańska, Gender, Pleasure, and Violence: The Construction of Expert Knowledge of Sexuality in Poland, Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2021, 268 pp, $42.00 (paperback), ISBN 9780253053091;

Agnieszka Kościańska, To See a Moose: The History of Polish Sex Education, New York: Berghahn, 2021, 354 pp, $145.00 (hardback), ISBN 9781800730601;

Anita Kurimay, Queer Budapest, 1871–1961, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2020, 336 pp, $32.50 (paperback), ISBN 9780226705798.

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Jovanka Broz and the Yugoslav Popular Press during Tito's Reign

At the Crossroads of Tradition and Emancipation (1952–1980)

Iva Jelušić

Abstract

To gain insight into the desirable characteristics of the Yugoslav New Woman, this article focuses on the country's only first lady, Jovanka Broz. Considering her as the most visible embodiment of modern Yugoslav womanhood, it analyzes portrayals of the first lady in the Yugoslav popular press, considering the interplay of several factors, including her strategy of (self-)representation, but also ideology, the nature of the magazines, and the related expectations of the journalists. Her exceptional social position was variously interpreted. The article finds that the innovative characteristics of the figure of the Yugoslav New Woman were not intentionally utilized to make the first lady into the leading female comrade. Instead, a fusion of traditional and revolutionary interpretations located her at the crossroads of tradition and emancipation.

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Leaving the Margins

Promoting a Context-Informed Perspective in Social Work Education among Palestinian Female Students in Israeli Academia

Haneen Elias and Ronit Reuven Even-Zahav

Abstract

This article presents a qualitative study of nineteen Palestinian female students in Israel. In doing so, it promotes a context-informed approach in social work education, which takes into account power relations, issues of gender, and socio-political and socio-cultural backgrounds. The students participated in a context-informed course held at Ruppin Academic Center in Israel. The findings focus on two contexts in the students’ lives: (1) their socio-cultural background, which includes their family and cultural space; and (2) the socio-political context, which includes majority-minority relations. A discussion on the intersection of these two spheres follows. Whereas students felt the socio-political realm was blind to their identity as Palestinian female students, they felt that the course was like their ‘home’ in terms of language and identity.

Open access

The Little Entente of Women as Transnational Ethno-Nationalist Community

Spotlight on Romania

Maria Bucur

Abstract

The founding of the Little Entente of Women (LEW) in 1923 provided new opportunities for feminists from member and aspiring countries to work together toward common goals for women's rights in those states. As they forged transnational bridges and built friendships across borders, the feminists of the LEW articulated a vision of progress deeply rooted in ethno-nationalism and racialized rhetoric. In this article I reflect primarily on the verbal rhetoric and visual symbols used by representatives of these countries in the first two gatherings of the network. Their empathy seems to have extended predominantly to the ethnic majorities represented in the group. Even as they spoke for women in general as a category, many understood each other to be speaking on behalf of specific ethnic and racial groups. The narrowness of this vision undercut the effectiveness of the work the LEW undertook and the goals it aspired to achieve.

Open access

The Little Entente of Women, Feminisms, Tensions, and Entanglements within the Interwar European Women's Movement

Krassimira Daskalova

Abstract

This article discusses some aspects of the interwar women's movements and feminist activities in Eastern Europe and the Balkans in particular, taking as a starting point the creation of the regional feminist network called the Little Entente of Women (LEW). It shows that—despite the idea of “global sisterhood”—women's actions have always been conditioned by the agenda of male political elites. At the same time, the article highlights some entanglements of the feminist activities and initiatives that shattered the (fraternal) social contracts of nation states and, already before World War II, won certain aspects of citizenship rights for women throughout the region of Southeastern Europe.