Women under State Socialism

A Review of Women, Communism, and Industrialization in Postwar Poland by Malgorzata Fidelis

In: Historical Materialism

Malgorzata Fidelis in her book Women, Communism, and Industrialization in Postwar Poland sets out to examine gender policies during Stalinism and their transformation under the subsequent ‘Polish road to socialism’. She shows that the relative political liberalisation in the late 1950s was also accompanied by the abandonment of policies favouring women and the return to conservative prewar gender hierarchies. The essay finds that the book is a valuable contribution to the understanding of the vicissitudes of gender struggle during Communism in Poland. It also makes a contribution to the understanding of how the principles declared by the Communist Party were modified in response not only to economic necessities but also to local cultures and popular struggles. In this way it sheds light on the process of the legitimation of the Communist regime in Poland and beyond by accommodating demands from below.

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  • 1

    See Makowski (ed.) 2014.

  • 2

    For example Kondratowicz 20012013; Penn 2006; Wiśniewska 2010.

  • 3

    Jarosz 2009.

  • 5

    See Pittaway 1999.

  • 7

    See Deutscher 1966pp. 27–51.

  • 8

    Harman 1974p. 108.

  • 9

    Harman 1974pp. 111–12.

  • 10

    Karol 1965pp. 40–2.

  • 11

    See Fuchs 2013; Funk 2004.

  • 12

    Fuszara 2005pp. 1065–71; Guenther 2011; Matynia 2003 pp. 502–10; Sloat 2005.

  • 13

    See Graff 2008; Środa 2009especially pp. 289–306.

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