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.
Socialist Normality: Euphemization of Power or Profanation of Power?
1. "Living and Working Together": Formal and Personal Relations Between Workers of the Polish State-Owned Farms
2. "Women Workers" in Hungary: Identities and Everyday Lives (Microhistorical Analysis of Life-Story Interviews)
Eszter Zsofia Toth
3. Yesterday's Heroes: Spinning Webs of Memory in a Postsocialist Textile Factory in Slovenia
4. Negotiating Spare Time: Magic at Work in the Everyday Life of a Bulgarian Socialist School
5. Contested Normality: Negotiating Masculinity in Narratives of Service in the Yugoslav People's Army
6. Experiencing Socialism: Female Singers in Southeastern Serbia
7. Eating Well in Times of Scarcity: Reactions, Perceptions, and Negotiation of Shortages in 1980s' Romania
8. Resistance in Consumption: In Search of a Negotiating Agent
9. Housing as a Norm and as an Everyday Life Strategy in Communist Czechoslovakia (1968–89)
10. The Indifferent, the Obedient, and the Adjusted: Three Women's Narratives about Socialism in Croatia