Everyday Life in State-Socialist Societies
Conference in Pula (Croatia), 12–15 May 2022
Until a few years ago, historians had paid little attention to the working and living conditions present under ‘state socialism’ in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. Not only were those countries associated with Moscow somewhat neglected, the same was also true of Yugoslavia and Albania.
The collapse of state socialisms initially prepared the ground for political-science questions, albeit to differing degrees in different regions. The opening up of previously inaccessible archival collections foregrounded at first a necessary reappraisal of Stalinist crimes, but this was done not infrequently with a strong emphasis on separate nation states.
Recently, however, historians – especially younger ones – have in many places emancipated themselves from these political-science concepts, researching and publishing on topics inspired by questions, concepts, and methods of a culturally expanded social historiography. A series of important monographs have been published over the last decade, as have a fairly large number of academic articles.
This conference aims to promote and strengthen scholarly debates on the social history of state socialism, which may also lead to new joint research and publication projects. We invite papers that duly situate their empirical case within the larger frame of the discussion outlined below.
In terms of content, this mainly concerns three important interrelated aspects:
• Work relations in industry, agriculture, and services: differences between the official and everyday reality in the workplace, the role of party organizations, informal organizational forms, conflicts, Eigensinn as a description of specific individual resilience.
• Gender relations in family life, in the public sphere, and in the workplace, and the interaction between gendered social relationships in all these spheres.
• Consumption relations as expressed in food, housing, holidays, etc., and ‘Coca-Cola Socialism’.
Questions that could be important in this regard include:
The conference is organized by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Southeast Europe, Belgrade (Serbia), and the Centre for Cultural and Historical Research of Socialism, Pula (Croatia).