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Constructing the Socialist Worker

Gender, Identity and Work under State Socialism in Braşov, Romania

Jill Massino

Utilising socialist legislation, propaganda and oral history interviews, this article analyses how women’s identities and roles – as well as gender relations – were reformulated as a result of women’s participation in paid labour in socialist Romania. Although some women regarded work as burdensome and unsatisfying, others found it intellectually fulfilling, personally rewarding and, in certain respects, empowering. For example, work improved women’s economic position and offered them an array of social services, which, although inadequate in a number of ways, were welcomed by many women. Moreover, work increased women’s physical and social mobility, which in turn provided them with greater freedom in directing their own lives and in choosing a partner. Finally, the experience of being harassed by male co-workers and of combining work outside the home with domestic responsibilities motivated some women to rethink their status both within the workplace and the family, and to renegotiate their relationships with male colleagues and partners. Although women never achieved full equality in socialist Romania, by creating the conditions for women’s full-time engagement in the workforce, state socialism decisively shaped the course of women’s lives, their self-identities and their conceptions of gender roles, often in positive ways.

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Catherine N. Butcher

generated from the students’ paid labour programme. Student-made craft items (souvenirs, sofa throws, brooms and so on) are sold in the student craft shop next to the College-owned hotel, which is strategically located and a major revenue earner. Students

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Christine Regan

caring what long years and days of menial, exhausting, poorly paid labour do to the human spirit. Comparably, in the sonnets ‘Divisions, I, II’ and the urban elegy v Harrison more confrontationally dramatizes what terminal unemployment does to a man

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Alienating students

Marxist theory in action

Megan Thiele, Yung-Yi Diana Pan, and Devin Molina

personal creativity are depressed and sometimes are lost altogether. In sum, alienation remains a crucial component of capitalism. Heavy reliance on low skill and low paid labour characterise industrial relations in the United States, Europe and other