Negotiating Normality: Everyday Lives in Socialist Institutions - Memory and Narrative (Hardback)
  • Negotiating Normality: Everyday Lives in Socialist Institutions - Memory and Narrative (Hardback)
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Negotiating Normality: Everyday Lives in Socialist Institutions - Memory and Narrative (Hardback)

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£83.99
Hardback 270 Pages / Published: 15/07/2012
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This book is about state socialism, not as a political system, but as an "ecosystem" of interactions between the state and the citizens it sought to control. It includes case studies that demonstrate how the major ideological principles of socialism translated into motives guiding people's lives.

This unique post-revisionist study focuses on people's lives and experiences rather than political systems. The studies are grouped around three common elements-socialist labor, the new socialist man, and the socialist way of life. Using first-hand accounts, the authors find minute deviations from the norms that eventually lead to renegotiation of the norms themselves. Focusing on routines, not extremes, they present socialism in its "normal" state.

The volume demonstrates different national strategies for dealing with the past in the post-socialist world. Studies of the socialist past may strive to be objective, but their messages tend to be complex. Rather than arriving at one truth about the nature of socialism, this volume explores the many ways people have survived the system.

Publisher: Taylor & Francis Inc
ISBN: 9781412846011
Number of pages: 270
Weight: 454 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 20 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

"Mainstream historical scholarship has portrayed state-socialism as a heavy handed dictatorial regime, which controlled and managed society in a top-down manner. This book breaks with conventional wisdom by highlighting that 'real' life in socialism was a much more complicated thing and cannot be explained by political impositions only. 'Ordinary' people were negotiating the terms of their livelihoods with the communist rulers and managed to establish something they often considered to be normal. The book gathers illuminating case-studies which are hold together by a clear and original conceptual framework. It should change the ways how we think of this now extinct way to organize society." --Ulf Brunnbauer, professor, Institute for East and Southeast European Studies, Regensburg, Germany


"More than 20 years after the sudden demise of the Iron Curtain, it is finally possible to examine everyday experiences of living in socialist Eastern Europe, without the distortions of Cold War ideologies. That is the task of the essays in this volume by women scholars who lived through socialism in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, and parts of the former Yugoslavia (Croatia, Serbia, and Slovenia).... This volume has articles about relations between workers on collective farms and in factories; time management in a socialist school; and the experiences and strategizing of consumption and housing under conditions of chronic intergenerational women's experiences, one in rural settings and one urban. The introduction by editor Koleva is an excellent discussion of the very concept of normality.... [A] useful interesting collection.... Highly recommended."

--R. M. Hayden, Choice

"Mainstream historical scholarship has portrayed state-socialism as a heavy handed dictatorial regime, which controlled and managed society in a top-down manner. This book breaks with conventional wisdom by highlighting that 'real' life in socialism was a much more complicated thing and cannot be explained by political impositions only. 'Ordinary' people were negotiating the terms of their livelihoods with the communist rulers and managed to establish something they often considered to be normal. The book gathers illuminating case-studies which are hold together by a clear and original conceptual framework. It should change the ways how we think of this now extinct way to organize society."

--Ulf Brunnbauer, professor, Institute for East and Southeast European Studies, Regensburg, Germany


"More than 20 years after the sudden demise of the Iron Curtain, it is finally possible to examine everyday experiences of living in socialist Eastern Europe, without the distortions of Cold War ideologies. That is the task of the essays in this volume by women scholars who lived through socialism in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, and parts of the former Yugoslavia (Croatia, Serbia, and Slovenia).... This volume has articles about relations between workers on collective farms and in factories; time management in a socialist school; and the experiences and strategizing of consumption and housing under conditions of chronic intergenerational women's experiences, one in rural settings and one urban. The introduction by editor Koleva is an excellent discussion of the very concept of normality.... [A] useful interesting collection.... Highly recommended."

--R. M. Hayden, Choice

"[A] most welcome addition to an emerging body of literature that discusses various aspects of private and everyday life in Communist times and the ways of remembering life under Communism in the post-socialist era in Eastern Europe. Much of the book, authored exclusively by female scholars, is devoted to women's experiences. . . . [T]he essays in the book are notable for a wide range of diverse themes, organizing concepts, methodological approaches, and source material."

Gyorgy Peteri, Journal of Cold War Studies

"Mainstream historical scholarship has portrayed state-socialism as a heavy handed dictatorial regime, which controlled and managed society in a top-down manner. This book breaks with conventional wisdom by highlighting that 'real' life in socialism was a much more complicated thing and cannot be explained by political impositions only. 'Ordinary' people were negotiating the terms of their livelihoods with the communist rulers and managed to establish something they often considered to be normal. The book gathers illuminating case-studies which are hold together by a clear and original conceptual framework. It should change the ways how we think of this now extinct way to organize society."

--Ulf Brunnbauer, professor, Institute for East and Southeast European Studies, Regensburg, Germany


"[A] fascinating, dense, and ambivalent array of socialist life worlds. The case studies from Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, Bulgaria, post-Yugoslavia, Serbia, Romania, Czechoslovakia, and Croatia engage in a translational effort: the 'translation of socialism's major ideological principles into motives guiding people's lives' (vii). The three core concepts are 'labor, ' the 'new socialist person, ' and the 'socialist way of life.' The authors approach them through the Foucauldian lens of normality as a major instrument of coercive power, through Bourdieu's concept of the euphemization of power--elaborated by James C. Scott who analyzes normality as invisible and thereby socially recognized and, more importantly, value-giving exertions of power--through Judith Butler's concept of gender as performativity, as well as through theorizations of the relationship among (auto)biographic narratives, memory, and history. . . . This conceptually convincing volume makes for fascinating reading for both scholars--historians, anthropologists, social scientists--and, given the vivid, if at times quite theoretical style, also for a more general readership who will feel their own experiences and memories captured and exemplified."

--Sabine Rutar, Aspasia: International Yearbook of Central, Eastern and Southeastern European Women's and Gender History

"More than 20 years after the sudden demise of the Iron Curtain, it is finally possible to examine everyday experiences of living in socialist Eastern Europe, without the distortions of Cold War ideologies. That is the task of the essays in this volume by women scholars who lived through socialism in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, and parts of the former Yugoslavia (Croatia, Serbia, and Slovenia).... This volume has articles about relations between workers on collective farms and in factories; time management in a socialist school; and the experiences and strategizing of consumption and housing under conditions of chronic intergenerational women's experiences, one in rural settings and one urban. The introduction by editor Koleva is an excellent discussion of the very concept of normality.... [A] useful interesting collection.... Highly recommended."

--R. M. Hayden, Choice

"[A] most welcome addition to an emerging body of literature that discusses various aspects of private and everyday life in Communist times and the ways of remembering life under Communism in the post-socialist era in Eastern Europe. Much of the book, authored exclusively by female scholars, is devoted to women's experiences. . . . [T]he essays in the book are notable for a wide range of diverse themes, organizing concepts, methodological approaches, and source material."

GyOrgy PEteri, Journal of Cold War Studies

"Mainstream historical scholarship has portrayed state-socialism as a heavy handed dictatorial regime, which controlled and managed society in a top-down manner. This book breaks with conventional wisdom by highlighting that 'real' life in socialism was a much more complicated thing and cannot be explained by political impositions only. 'Ordinary' people were negotiating the terms of their livelihoods with the communist rulers and managed to establish something they often considered to be normal. The book gathers illuminating case-studies which are hold together by a clear and original conceptual framework. It should change the ways how we think of this now extinct way to organize society."

--Ulf Brunnbauer, professor, Institute for East and Southeast European Studies, Regensburg, Germany


"[A] fascinating, dense, and ambivalent array of socialist life worlds. The case studies from Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, Bulgaria, post-Yugoslavia, Serbia, Romania, Czechoslovakia, and Croatia engage in a translational effort: the 'translation of socialism's major ideological principles into motives guiding people's lives' (vii). The three core concepts are 'labor, ' the 'new socialist person, ' and the 'socialist way of life.' The authors approach them through the Foucauldian lens of normality as a major instrument of coercive power, through Bourdieu's concept of the euphemization of power--elaborated by James C. Scott who analyzes normality as invisible and thereby socially recognized and, more importantly, value-giving exertions of power--through Judith Butler's concept of gender as performativity, as well as through theorizations of the relationship among (auto)biographic narratives, memory, and history. . . . This conceptually convincing volume makes for fascinating reading for both scholars--historians, anthropologists, social scientists--and, given the vivid, if at times quite theoretical style, also for a more general readership who will feel their own experiences and memories captured and exemplified."

--Sabine Rutar, Aspasia: International Yearbook of Central, Eastern and Southeastern European Women's and Gender History

"More than 20 years after the sudden demise of the Iron Curtain, it is finally possible to examine everyday experiences of living in socialist Eastern Europe, without the distortions of Cold War ideologies. That is the task of the essays in this volume by women scholars who lived through socialism in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, and parts of the former Yugoslavia (Croatia, Serbia, and Slovenia).... This volume has articles about relations between workers on collective farms and in factories; time management in a socialist school; and the experiences and strategizing of consumption and housing under conditions of chronic intergenerational women's experiences, one in rural settings and one urban. The introduction by editor Koleva is an excellent discussion of the very concept of normality.... [A] useful interesting collection.... Highly recommended."

--R. M. Hayden, Choice

"[A] most welcome addition to an emerging body of literature that discusses various aspects of private and everyday life in Communist times and the ways of remembering life under Communism in the post-socialist era in Eastern Europe. Much of the book, authored exclusively by female scholars, is devoted to women's experiences. . . . [T]he essays in the book are notable for a wide range of diverse themes, organizing concepts, methodological approaches, and source material."

GyOrgy PEteri, Journal of Cold War Studies

"Mainstream historical scholarship has portrayed state-socialism as a heavy handed dictatorial regime, which controlled and managed society in a top-down manner. This book breaks with conventional wisdom by highlighting that 'real' life in socialism was a much more complicated thing and cannot be explained by political impositions only. 'Ordinary' people were negotiating the terms of their livelihoods with the communist rulers and managed to establish something they often considered to be normal. The book gathers illuminating case-studies which are hold together by a clear and original conceptual framework. It should change the ways how we think of this now extinct way to organize society."

--Ulf Brunnbauer, professor, Institute for East and Southeast European Studies, Regensburg, Germany


-[A] fascinating, dense, and ambivalent array of socialist life worlds. The case studies from Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, Bulgaria, post-Yugoslavia, Serbia, Romania, Czechoslovakia, and Croatia engage in a translational effort: the 'translation of socialism's major ideological principles into motives guiding people's lives' (vii). The three core concepts are 'labor, ' the 'new socialist person, ' and the 'socialist way of life.' The authors approach them through the Foucauldian lens of normality as a major instrument of coercive power, through Bourdieu's concept of the euphemization of power--elaborated by James C. Scott who analyzes normality as invisible and thereby socially recognized and, more importantly, value-giving exertions of power--through Judith Butler's concept of gender as performativity, as well as through theorizations of the relationship among (auto)biographic narratives, memory, and history. . . . This conceptually convincing volume makes for fascinating reading for both scholars--historians, anthropologists, social scientists--and, given the vivid, if at times quite theoretical style, also for a more general readership who will feel their own experiences and memories captured and exemplified.-

--Sabine Rutar, Aspasia: International Yearbook of Central, Eastern and Southeastern European Women's and Gender History

-More than 20 years after the sudden demise of the Iron Curtain, it is finally possible to examine everyday experiences of living in socialist Eastern Europe, without the distortions of Cold War ideologies. That is the task of the essays in this volume by women scholars who lived through socialism in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, and parts of the former Yugoslavia (Croatia, Serbia, and Slovenia).... This volume has articles about relations between workers on collective farms and in factories; time management in a socialist school; and the experiences and strategizing of consumption and housing under conditions of chronic intergenerational women's experiences, one in rural settings and one urban. The introduction by editor Koleva is an excellent discussion of the very concept of normality.... [A] useful interesting collection.... Highly recommended.-

--R. M. Hayden, Choice

-[A] most welcome addition to an emerging body of literature that discusses various aspects of private and everyday life in Communist times and the ways of remembering life under Communism in the post-socialist era in Eastern Europe. Much of the book, authored exclusively by female scholars, is devoted to women's experiences. . . . [T]he essays in the book are notable for a wide range of diverse themes, organizing concepts, methodological approaches, and source material.-

GyOrgy PEteri, Journal of Cold War Studies

-Mainstream historical scholarship has portrayed state-socialism as a heavy handed dictatorial regime, which controlled and managed society in a top-down manner. This book breaks with conventional wisdom by highlighting that 'real' life in socialism was a much more complicated thing and cannot be explained by political impositions only. 'Ordinary' people were negotiating the terms of their livelihoods with the communist rulers and managed to establish something they often considered to be normal. The book gathers illuminating case-studies which are hold together by a clear and original conceptual framework. It should change the ways how we think of this now extinct way to organize society.-

--Ulf Brunnbauer, professor, Institute for East and Southeast European Studies, Regensburg, Germany

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