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Socialist Secularism

Religion, Modernity, and Muslim Women's Emancipation in Bulgaria and Yugoslavia, 1945–1991

Pamela Ballinger and Kristen Ghodsee

This article uses the examples of socialist Bulgaria and Yugoslavia to propose some new directions for rethinking scholarly understandings of “secularism” and the ways in which socialist secularizing projects were intricately intertwined with questions of gender equality. Current scholarly debates on the genealogy of secularism root its origins in the Catholic/Protestant West, and systematically ignore cases from the former communist world. This article takes two cases of Balkan states to explore the theoretical contours of what we call “socialist secularism.” Although Bulgaria and Yugoslavia’s experiences of socialist secularism differed in the degree of their coerciveness, this article examines the similarities in the conceptualization of the secularizing imperative and the rhetoric used to justify it, specifically the rhetoric of communist modernism and women’s liberation from religious backwardness.

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Authentically socialist

Czech heritage management at the former Liechtenstein estate of Lednice-Valtice

Veronica E. Aplenc

The Lednice-Valtice area, Southern Moravia, represents over 220 square kilometers of vast architectural and landscape heritage. As the former Liechtenstein ducal seat nationalized in 1945 and a major tourist attraction throughout the twentieth century, this site embodies the complex issues of heritage and authenticity. Post-war Czech preservationists incorporated pre-socialist legislative systems and beliefs into their socialist-era professional praxis, in a striking use of Habsburg-era, modernist cultural capital. Central to this borrowing was preservationists' casting themselves as state-legislated experts in heritage management, using an almost exclusively aesthetics-focused presentation in messy ideological situations.

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Stefan Guga

Lewis H. Siegelbaum., ed. 2011. The socialist car: Automobility in the Eastern Bloc. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. vii + 242 pages.

Gabrielle Hecht, ed. 2011. Entangled geographies: Empire and technopolitics in the global Cold War. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. x + 337 pages.

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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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Liberal Values and Socialist Models

Reply to Darrel Moellendorf

Anton D. Lowenberg

In a recent issue of this journal, Darrel Moellendorf evaluates three socialist models of economic organisation in terms of their efficiency and equity attributes (Moellendorf 1997). From the perspective of the cogency of the arguments made within the worldview accepted by Moellendorf, his contribution must certainly be judged a scholarly and thoughtfully written piece. However, as a free’market economist I find the central claim of his article – that any of the three socialist models discussed can successfully reproduce or even approximate the individual freedom and economic efficiency of a private-property rights system – implausible to say the least.

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Olga Zdravomyslova and Elena Iarskaia-Smirnova

Girls born between the late 1990s and the early 2000s in the countries of the former USSR and Eastern Europe are fast entering into a particular kind of social life. In contrast to previous generations of girls born and bred under communist regimes, this post-socialist generation has access to the Internet, social networks, and global mass culture. They speak in a different voice, and they raise new issues and seek answers to them.

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Marina Gold

More than a state ideology, the concept of 'Revolution' holds multiple meanings for Cubans. A historic moment, the government, the country, the people—Revolution is any one of these and all of them at once. How, then, do people experience a permanent Revolution in their daily lives? The interactions between biomedicine, alternative health practices, and the syncretic system of beliefs known as Santería have important implications for the socialist project of the Revolution. As a central concern of Revolution, health provides a particularly clear example of the interaction between revolutionary ideology and practice. This distinction elucidates the epistemological and experiential complexity of Revolution, providing the Cuban state with a powerful signifier that allows it to adapt to situations of crisis, continuously reinvent itself, and be in a permanent state of Revolution.

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Alistair Cole

The French Socialist Party has maintained a deeply ambivalent relationship with political radicalism. Throughout its long history, political radicalism has been experienced both as an internal political contest (hence as a form of intra-party struggle for influence) and as a relationship within (and beyond) the broader party system. This article identifies three levels of analysis as heuristics to facilitate a study of the French Socialist Party over the long term. From the perspective of the party as a whole, the party evolves according to its own eco-system, and is shaped by deeply embedded cultural and political traits. A different level of analysis frames the question of political radicalism organizationally, in terms of relations within and beyond the party. Finally, one can also understand the party's relationship with political radicalism instrumentally and strategically, in terms of electoral alliances. Though there is a tension between these three approaches, each contributes to understanding why the French Socialist Party is sometimes considered a European exception.

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The Concept of Manhood in Post-Socialist Siberia

The Sakha Father as a Wise Hunter and a Pastoralist

Hiroki Takakura

This article analyzes the family relationships of the Sakha people with particular focus on the concept of the father, both in a historical setting and in a contemporary context. The aim of this article is to shed light on alternative aspects of the life of Sakha pastoralists and to examine them within the broader historical and cultural perspective. Unlike previous studies on manhood and gender in post-socialist Russia, I suggest that the realization of a masculine identity as a father was possible, and that it has been transmitted through the generations, even during the socialist era. Hunting as a mode of minor subsistence and the perception of the socio-ecological environment related to it has been crucial for the preservation of the status of a man among the Sakha.

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Marino De Luca

Several parties throughout the world are democratizing their internal processes. The most notable tools for achieving this aim are the primary elections through which electoral candidates and party leaders are selected. This article seek to analyze these “selections” by using survey data relating to primary elections held in October 2011 by the French Socialist Party. In particular, we make use of survey data to describe extensively some social and political characteristics of the voters and to connect them with the electoral performances of the candidates.