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Ambiguous Transitions: Gender, the State, and Everyday Life in Socialist and Postsocialist Romania

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Ambiguous Transitions

Gender, the State, and Everyday Life in Socialist and Postsocialist Romania

Jill Massino

404 pages, 13 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-598-3 $130.00/£92.00 Hb Not Yet Published (August 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78533-599-0 eBook Not Yet Published

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“In Ambiguous Transitions, Jill Massino takes the reader on an insightful journey through the complex landscapes of socialism and postsocialism in modern Romania. She challenges our preconceived notion of what constituted everyday life in socialist countries by using a rich array of women’s voices that help us understand the complexity of the lived experience of communism. The meticulous research, the clear lines of argument, and the brilliant analysis of women’s lives through the lens of gender and memory kept me engaged until the very end.” • Choi Chatterjee, California State University, Los Angeles

Ambiguous Transitions provides a significant overview of the history of Romania and of women’s issues in Romania, especially under communism. Its combined investigation of oral histories and official publications make for a particularly nuanced analysis.” • Oana Popescu-Sandu, University of Southern Indiana

“This is a valuable academic work that will be of great interest to both scholars and students. Its clear, accessible style recommends it to an even larger audience interested in the history of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe.” • Claudia-Florentina Dobre, University of Bucharest


Drawing on evidence that ranges from government records to historical media and oral history interviews, Ambiguous Transitions provides an accessible, intimate exploration of gender and citizenship in socialist Romania. By connecting women’s everyday lives to larger political, economic, and social processes, author Jill M. Massino challenges conventional understandings of life in socialist Romania as uniformly oppressive. Organized around four key aspects of everyday life—education, work, marriage and family, and leisure—these portraits of life in the Eastern bloc shed light on the Cold War, modernity, and the salience of socialist beliefs and practices in people’s understanding of post-socialism.

Jill Massino is Assistant Professor of Modern European History at The University of North Carolina, Charlotte. She is co‐editor of the volume Gender Politics and Everyday Life in State Socialist Eastern and Central Europe (2009) and has published a number of articles on gender and everyday life in socialist and post-socialist Romania.

Subject: Postwar History Gender Studies
Area: Central/Eastern Europe



Introduction: Ambiguous Transitions: Gender, the State, and Everyday Life in Romania from Socialism to Postsocialism

Chapter 1. The Times, They are a Changin’: Gender, Citizenship, and the Transition to Socialism
Chapter 2. Children of the Revolution: Gender, and the (Ab)Normality of Growing up Socialist
Chapter 3. Career Opportunities: Gender, Work, and Identity
Chapter 4. Love and Marriage: Gender and the Transformation of Marital Roles and Relations
Chapter 5. It’s a Family Affair: Motherhood, Reproductive Politics, and State Welfare
Chapter 6. Good Times, Bad Times: Gender, Consumption, and Lifestyle
Chapter 7. Revolution Blues: Gender and the Transformation from Socialism to Pluralism


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