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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

466 pages, 13 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-598-3 $179.00/£132.00 / Hb / Published (July 2019)

eISBN 978-1-78533-599-0 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“Overall, it can be summed up that Jill Massiono has succeeded in writing history ‘from below’ in the best sense of the word with Ambiguous Transitions…The volume undoubtedly motivates reflection and further research and is extremely informative for an audience that is not familiar with Romania's recent history in detail from the outset.” • Südost-Forschungen

“This is a key and much welcomed contribution to the literature on Romanian socialism.” • European History Quarterly

“In addition to showing a complex image of socialist Romania, Massino’s work offers an interesting lens through which to investigate other countries of the Eastern bloc, as well as noncommunist regimes and societies in transition… a wonderful book for both undergraduate and graduate students, as it provides interesting analysis but also lengthy snippets of sources that would make a basis for fascinating class discussions. It should also reach certain sectors of the wider public interested in the complexities of life under socialism.” • Aspasia

“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


Focusing on youth, family, work, and consumption, Ambiguous Transitions analyzes the interplay between gender and citizenship postwar Romania. By juxtaposing official sources with oral histories and socialist policies with everyday practices, Jill Massino illuminates the gendered dimensions of socialist modernization and its complex effects on women’s roles, relationships, and identities. Analyzing women as subjects and agents, the book examines how they negotiated the challenges that arose as Romanian society modernized, even as it clung to traditional ideas about gender. Massino concludes by exploring the ambiguities of postsocialism, highlighting how the legacies of the past have shaped politics and women’s lived experiences since 1989.

Jill Massino is Associate Professor of Modern European History at The University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

Subject: History: 20th Century to PresentGender Studies and Sexuality
Area: Central/Eastern Europe


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