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Wed 12 April
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    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
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Thu 13 April
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Fri 14 April
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Wednesday 12 April 2023 16.30 - 18.30
V-4 SOC05 Everyday Life during Communism in East-Central Europe. A Transregional Perspective
Västra Hamngatan 25 AK2 134
Network: Social Inequality Chair: Carolina García Sanz
Organizer: Mioara Anton Discussants: -
Moderators: -
Mioara Anton : Paradoxes of Corruption in Late Socialist Romania. Survival Strategies and Informal Economy during the Ceausescu Regime
This paper aims to analyze the social and political dimensions of corruption and the informal economy in socialist Romania during Nicolae Ceausescu’s rule. Documents from the Securitate (Secret Police) and Communist Party archives reveal the inner workings of the underground economy and the increase in corruption as the regime faced ... (Show more)
This paper aims to analyze the social and political dimensions of corruption and the informal economy in socialist Romania during Nicolae Ceausescu’s rule. Documents from the Securitate (Secret Police) and Communist Party archives reveal the inner workings of the underground economy and the increase in corruption as the regime faced growing economic crisis. Restrictive legislative measures, moralizing press campaigns, and repeated appeals by Ceauseascu to stop systemic corruption had minimal tangible effects. This was mainly due to the involvement of the administrative elite or those who worked in the law-enforcement institutions (Police - Militia, Securitate, judiciary apparatus) in corruption cases. The paper argues that the reasons for the development of informal practices were varied: the existence of cultural and social codes in Romanian society; and, the failure of the socialist state to achieve the economic prosperity it promised to the population.
The paper examines how growing shortages and the chronic absence of consumer goods generated numerous survival strategies that required reliance on the informal economy. Corruption was integral to citizens’ survival strategies and it was a means of accumulating power and influence in party-state structures. By the 1980s, scarcity had become so widespread that only connections within these informal milieus insured access to the goods which the state had failed to provide. (Show less)

Anna Calori : Envisioning the Global: Everyday Life in a Yugoslav Corporation
This paper examines the history of everyday life in Yugoslav self-managed enterprises embedded in a global web of economic and technical cooperation. Based on a close reading of company journals and oral history interviews, it will reflect on the multiple ways in which global socialism was translated, negotiated, and experienced ... (Show more)
This paper examines the history of everyday life in Yugoslav self-managed enterprises embedded in a global web of economic and technical cooperation. Based on a close reading of company journals and oral history interviews, it will reflect on the multiple ways in which global socialism was translated, negotiated, and experienced within the late socialist enterprise.

Yugoslav engineering, petrochemical, and construction companies were amongst the country’s largest exporters. Thanks to the country’s central position within the Non-Aligned Movement, they benefitted from a wide array of business opportunities with partner countries, across the Iron Curtain and especially in the Global South.
Employees of these companies would be exposed to the socialist global project in manifold ways: through periods of work abroad, visits of foreign delegations, and everyday micro-exchanges embedded in global supply chains.
As this paper argues, these exchanges brought “the global” into the everyday lives of Yugoslav workers, thus shaping their notions, visions, and understandings of globalization.
This, the paper posits, would go on to shape workers’ expectations of globalization as the socialist system embarked on its reformist project in the late 1980s. Further, they would mould the ways in which workers made sense of the major socio-economic transformations that followed the collapse of state socialism.
By interrogating working-class memories of socialist globalization and its intervention in the everyday life of late socialist and post-socialist communities, the paper will offer a theoretical reflection on the value of expectations as an analytical category for the study of lived experiences of transformation in the (post)socialist context. (Show less)

Agnes Fulemile, Balázs Balogh : Folk Fans and Rock Fans. Youth, Cultural Alternatives, Resilience, and Grassroots Resistance in Socialist Hungary
The paper highlights two poles of the community-organizing phenomena for young people that provided alternatives to ideologized, politicized mandatory youth activities and state-supported cultural life in the last two decades of the Kádár era in Hungary. Parallels are drawn between the grassroots subcultures of the folk revival movement and the ... (Show more)
The paper highlights two poles of the community-organizing phenomena for young people that provided alternatives to ideologized, politicized mandatory youth activities and state-supported cultural life in the last two decades of the Kádár era in Hungary. Parallels are drawn between the grassroots subcultures of the folk revival movement and the underground and semi-sanctioned rock scene of the 1970s and '80s. These circles of „resilience” and „resistance” played a vital role in the everyday life of young people in Hungary. Cultural policymakers tried to tame the deviant alterations and create a politically acceptable socialist pop culture variant of these musical trends. The topic is discussed in terms of the social and political context and identity questions of the period. (Show less)

Mara Marginean : Differentiation in the Making: Environmental Policies and Residential Segregation of Roma Industrial Workers in Late Socialist Romania
Even though the Romanian authorities became aware of industrialization programs' long-term environmentally destructive effects, the socialist regime minimized financial investment in ecological improvements. One consequence was that pollution continued to negatively affect the quality of life of people living near industrial areas. For example, Baia Mare, an industrial city with ... (Show more)
Even though the Romanian authorities became aware of industrialization programs' long-term environmentally destructive effects, the socialist regime minimized financial investment in ecological improvements. One consequence was that pollution continued to negatively affect the quality of life of people living near industrial areas. For example, Baia Mare, an industrial city with a long tradition of copper mining and non-ferrous metallurgy, soon became one of the most polluted zones in the country. Moreover, the city's most polluted areas were gradually inhabited by poor and unskilled workers, mostly Roma, in the 1970s, which questions the constitutive mechanisms of racialized poverty and the role of environmental conditions in the emergence of different forms of social inclusion or marginalization in socialist Romania. Based on archival research and oral interviews, my paper aims to analyze the everyday experiences of Roma in these environmentally stressed areas of the industrial city of Baia Mare during the late socialist period. It explores different strategies of inclusion and exclusion of Roma workers and what they tell us about industrialization and urban development strategies since the 1970s. It also examines the Roma population's different tactics to cope with the everyday challenges of living in an industrialized environment by exploring their living conditions and access to housing. (Show less)

Zdenek Nebrensky : Rural Man and Urban Woman Politics of Marriage in Czechoslovakia and Poland, 1949-1968
This article focuses on the history of married couples, particularly those who got married to partners from the different socio-cultural background. It is interested in the way that marital disagreements were associated with differences between the town and the countryside. The paper emphasizes that disputes between spouses who came from ... (Show more)
This article focuses on the history of married couples, particularly those who got married to partners from the different socio-cultural background. It is interested in the way that marital disagreements were associated with differences between the town and the countryside. The paper emphasizes that disputes between spouses who came from such disparate backgrounds were often based on the discourse of de-Destalinization when political authorities began to deal with the rising divorce rate among married couples. One of the causes of divorce was perceived to be the socio-geographical differences between partners. Moralizing reflections explained dissention among newlyweds as a result of their arrival in the big city. Authorities related the stories of young people “uprooted” from their environment and arriving from various rural regions. Whether a spouse had an urban or rural background could certainly have some effect on married life. Nevertheless, it was hard to show any causal connection between the different backgrounds of the spouses and the extent of their lack of mutual comprehension as partners. In this sense, “rurban” marriages spoke more about the fact that the difference between the town and the country had acquired great significance in the post-Stalinist society. (Show less)



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