Gender and Choice after Socialism
The end of socialism in the Soviet Union and its satellite states ushered in a new era of choice. Yet the idea that people are really free to live as they choose turns out to be problematic. Personal choice is limited by a range of factors such as a person’s economic situation, class, age, government policies and social expectations, especially regarding gender roles. Furthermore, the notion of free choice is a crucial feature of capitalist ideology, and can be manipulated in the interests of the market. This edited collection explores the complexity of choice in Russia and Ukraine. The contributors explore how the new choices available to people after the collapse of the Soviet Union have interacted with and influenced gender identities and gender, and how choice has become one of the driving forces of class-formation in countries which were, in the Soviet era, supposedly classless.
The book will of interest to students and scholars across a range of subjects including gender and sexualities studies, history, sociology and political science.
This chapter looks into two paradoxes of the post-Soviet Russian gender order and post-Soviet
Russian masculinities. The first paradox is a large-scale, well documented structural
contradiction which has persisted throughout the entire post-Soviet period of Russian history:
despite the fact that military service remains a constitutional duty of male citizens in Russia, only
a minority of men in the draft pool end up serving in the armed forces. The second paradox,
commonly known but underexplored, relates to the symbolic dimensions of gender relations in
Russia. I addressed this issue in my relatively small-scale qualitative research project on
contemporary Russian masculinities: I found that despite harsh criticism of the contemporary
Russian army and personal unwillingness to serve in the military, only a small number of the
research participants expressed consistent antimilitary sentiments and/or considered military
service as unnecessary and pointless. My research also showed that the military and militarism
remain a crucially important gendered terrain on which Russian masculinities are contested and
achieved. This is evident even in the context of a severe crisis of the national military, and even
for men who have no experience of military service.
The volume presents a new and unique view of welfare in Russia and Eastern European countries from an intersectional perspective of welfare, gender and agency. Since the collapse of socialism, the welfare structures of the post-socialist states have experienced large and rapid changes. The discussions on the reforming welfare models serve as the integrating theme for the volume. The authors discuss past and current developments and make comparisons in time and space between the early 1990s and late 2000s and between post-socialist and transitional countries. Welfare and political democratization are analyzed on the one hand as structures and processes and on the other hand as cultural meanings and through agency, which all are strongly gendered. Macro-level analyses and in-depth case studies by scholars from different countries and disciplines provide a wide and multilayered picture of welfare developments and gendered practices of social services, caregiving and civic activism, among others. Special attention is given to research methodologies, particularly on fieldwork and micro-level understanding of the related topics. The contributors come from social and political sciences and from both former socialist and 'Western' countries from Russia and Slovenia as well as the US, the UK, Germany and Finland.
Modern capitalism favors values that undermine our face-to-face bonds with friends and family members. Focusing on the post-communist world, and comparing it to more 'developed' societies, this book reveals the mixed effects of capitalist culture on interpersonal relationships. While most observers blame the egoism and asocial behavior found in new free-market societies on their communist pasts, this work shows how relationships are also threatened by the profit orientations and personal ambition unleashed by economic development. Successful people in societies as diverse as China, Russia, and Eastern Germany adjust to the market economy at a social cost, relaxing their morals in order to obtain success and succumbing to increased material temptations to exploit relationships for their own financial and professional gain. The capitalist personality is internally troubled as a result of this "sellout," but these qualms subside as it devalues intimate qualitative bonds with others. This book also shows that post-communists are similarly individualized as people living in Western societies. Capitalism may indeed favor values of independence, creativity, and self-expressiveness, but it also rewards self-centeredness, consumerism, and the stripping down of morality. As is the case in the West, capitalist culture fosters an internally conflicted and self-centered personality in post-communist societies.
Apart from the public sphere and the norms set by society, the private sphere plays an important role in the lives of the disabled, including the personal experience of disability at a micro level: in their families, everyday routines and romantic relationships. In this chapter, issues of family structure are considered using a narrative analysis of interviews with women who use wheelchairs. Various cultural, social, economic and political determinants effect the formation of certain types of family structure and attitudes towards family life. At the same time, they interrelate with biographical factors that reinforce or weaken the limits of freedom and private life. Using narrative analysis, I demonstrate what role family plays in constructing the identity of a person with a disability, and how family members act as coauthors of individual biographies. This can be seen in those dilemmas of family life associated with the feelings, sexuality and emotional stability at the micro-level of the life experience and identification of women with disabilities.
The paper deals with temporary employment in the Russian labour market. The main focus is the gender difference regarding determinants of temporary employment. Unlike most European countries, where women are more likely to have temporary work, in Russia men predominantly have this status, comparable to the situation in many developing countries. This paper seeks to understand why this is the case. The household survey of NOBUS (held in 2003 by State Statistical Centre with World Bank participation) is used to answer this question: the results suggest that gender differences in temporary employment do exist, and that the main factors that explain these differences are education, and marital status.
The article is based on the introductory part of the collection on “Material Culture and Technology in Everyday Life: Ethnographic Approaches” (2009). The author presents a brief review of concepts that have been lately employed in research on material or technological culture. He attempts to show that different disciplines do in fact use adjacent notions and concepts in thinking about materiality, and tries to delineate ways of bringing the different research traditions to a unified platform that could serve as a theoretical foundation for the complex materialistic study of technological culture.
The issues of choice in traditional psychology exists with the topics of planning and decision making. on influencing of existential psychology the issue of choice becomes connected with personal responsibility and taking on uncertainty, which are closely connected to the personal potential of the subject.
This chapter addresses the relationship between class, family and social welfare policies by analysing the construction of the identity category of ‘unfortunate families’ (neblagopoluchnye sem’i) in popular scientific discourses, governmental policy documents and discourses of social services, and by examining how those labelled as ‘unfortunate’ negotiate this identity conferred to them. The chapter shows that gender and class are closely intertwined in the production of this identity, as it is single mothers who are primarily categorised as ‘unfortunate’. In our analysis we draw on multiple sources of data. First, we analyse in-depth and focus group interviews with service providers and clients and participant observation data from a number of Russian cities. Second, we analyse various government documents and social advertisements, mass media materials, social policy and social work textbooks, and popular scientific texts published during the 1990–2010s. This chapter begins with a review of Western theoretical discussions of class in the context of family and welfare in order to see how Russia fits into these debates. Western class analysis was considered irrelevant in the Soviet Union due to the supposedly classless nature of advanced socialism, but the transition to a market economy in the 1990s and the new kind of class society it engendered have made these discussions topical in Russia. In the second section of this chapter we offer a brief description of the main principles of the Soviet and post-Soviet welfare ideologies and the policies towards families. The following sections examine how popular scientific discourses, governmental policy documents and social advertisements, and social service providers construct class with the concept of the unfortunate family. The last section preceding the conclusions analyses how mothers labelled as unfortunate negotiate this stigmatised identity.
Several approaches to the concept of fatherhood present in Western sociological tradition are analyzed and compared: biological determinism, social constructivism and biosocial theory. The problematics of fatherhood and men’s parental practices is marginalized in modern Russian social research devoted to family and this fact makes the traditional inequality in family relations, when the father’s role is considered secondary compared to that of mother, even stronger. However, in Western critical men’s studies several stages can be outlined: the development of “sex roles” paradigm (biological determinism), the emergence of the hegemonic masculinity concept, inter-disciplinary stage (biosocial theory). According to the approach of biological determinism, the role of a father is that of the patriarch, he continues the family line and serves as a model for his ascendants. Social constructivism looks into man’s functions in the family from the point of view of masculine pressure and establishing hegemony over a woman and children. Biosocial theory aims to unite the biological determinacy of fatherhood with social, cultural and personal context. It is shown that these approaches are directly connected with the level of the society development, marriage and family perceptions, the level of egality of gender order.
This article is talking about state management and cultural policy, their nature and content in term of the new tendency - development of postindustrial society. It mentioned here, that at the moment cultural policy is the base of regional political activity and that regions can get strong competitive advantage if they are able to implement cultural policy successfully. All these trends can produce elements of new economic development.