Making Sense of Dictatorship: Domination and Everyday Life in East Central Europe after 1945

Making Sense of Dictatorship

Domination and Everyday Life in East Central Europe after 1945
Publisher: Central European University Press
Date of Publication:
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Product details:

No. of pages:296 pages
Size:228x152 mm
Weight:545 g
Illustrations: 11 halftones Halftones, black & white
Long description:

How did political power function in the communist regimes of East Central Europe after 1945? Making Sense of Dictatorship addresses this question with a particular focus on the acquiescent behavior of the majority of the population until, at the end of the 1980s, their rejection of state socialism and its authoritarian world.

The authors refer to the concept of Sinnwelt, the way in which groups and individuals made sense of the world around them. The essays focus on the dynamics of everyday life and the extent to which the relationship between citizens and the state was collaborative or antagonistic. Each chapter addresses a different aspect of life in this period, including modernization, consumption and leisure, and the everyday experiences of "ordinary people," single mothers, or those adopting alternative lifestyles.

Empirically rich and conceptually original, the essays in this volume suggest new ways to understand how people make sense of everyday life under dictatorial regimes.

"Vsak izmed prispevkov, ki jo sestavljajo, na izviren in svojstven način razrešuje napetost med empirijo in teoretsko zastavljenim okvirom. A vendar je tisto, zaradi česar monografija najbolj izstopa, skupno osnovno razumevanje problematike, prisotno pri vseh avtorjih: v zgodovinopisju je malo prostora za črno-bele slike in mnogo prostora za raziskovanje različnosti, nians in nenehno spreminjajočih se pogledov."ša Konovšek, Prispevki za novejšo zgodovino
"The book offers concrete examples of what research on socialist dictatorships can mean. It is in the specific cases that the interconnectedness of the pressures that socialist dictatorships exerted on their populations, the opportunities that these same regimes offered, and the strategies that populations and communities used to deal with them in lived practice, is well illustrated. Making Sense of Dictatorship provides insight into how different actors across the societies of socialist dictatorships struggled to make sense of their social reality."áclav Sixta, Soudobé dějiny
"Making Sense of Dictatorship is a rich source of material that moves beyond a singular national narrative and encourages a comparative perspective. The emphasis on the everyday life of individuals provides thought-provoking insights, especially in light of all the people living under the cloud of authoritarianism in the contemporary world." Chelegeer, Europe-Asia Studies
"The major strengths of the book lie in its thematic diversity. The diversity of historical actors who parade across the pages of this book offers a glimpse into various perspectives and experiences. The volume will be thought-provoking for anyone interested in the history of Eastern Europe and everyday life under dictatorships, and it will be useful for historians, social scientists, and their students alike."éna Huhák, Hungarian Historical Review
Table of Contents:

List of Figures

List of Acronyms


Pavel Kolář and Michal Kopeček

Editors? Note

Ana Kladnik and Celia Donert

PART I. Sinnwelt and Eigen-Sinn

Socialism as Sinnwelt: Communist Dictatorship and its World of Meaning in a Cultural-Historical Perspective

Martin Sabrow

Neither Consent nor Opposition: Eigen-Sinn, or How to Make Sense of Compliance and Self-Assertion under Communist Domination

Thomas Lindenberger

PART II. Authorities and Domination

Policeman Nicolae: The Story of One Man?s Life and Work in the Socialist Republic of Romania (1960?89)

Ciprian Cirniala

The East German Reporting System: Normality and Legitimacy Through Bureaucracy

Hedwig Richter

Late Communist Elites and the Demise of State Socialism in Czechoslovakia (1986?89)

Michal Pullmann

PART III. Everyday Social Practices and Sinnwelt

Local Self-Governance, Voluntary Practices, and the Sinnwelt of Socialist Velenje

Ana Kladnik

Modern Housekeeping Worlds; or, How Much is Thirty Percent Really? Eigensinnige Consumer Practices and the Hungarian Trade Union?s "Washing Machine Campaign" of 1957?58

Annina Gagyiova

Single Mothers, Lonely Children: Polish Families, Socialist Modernity, and the Experience of Crisis of the Late 1970s and 1980s

Barbara Klich-Kluczewska

"Since Makarenko the Time for Experiments has Passed": Peace, Gender, and Human Rights in East Berlin during the 1980s

Celia Donert

PART IV. Intellectual and Expert Worlds and (De-)Legitimization

Problems with Progress in Late Socialist Czechoslovakia: The Example of Most, North Bohemia

Mat?j Spurný

Authentic Community and Autonomous Individual: Making Sense of Socialism in Late Socialist Hungary

Péter Apor

The "Will to Publicity" and its Publicists: Curating the Memory of Czechoslovak Samizdat

Jonathan Larson

Dissident Legalism: Human Rights, Socialist Legality, and the Birth of Legal Resistance in the 1970s Democratic Opposition in Czechoslovakia and Poland

Michal Kopeček