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Investigating the Family in the post-Soviet Context

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  • UserAnna Shadrina, a gender researcher and writer based in Minsk, Belarus; research associate at the Centre for Gender Studies, the European Humanities University, Vilnius, Lithuania; visiting scholar at the Weeks Centre for Social and Policy Research, Londo
  • ClockThursday 15 January 2015, 16:00-17:00
  • HouseAlison Richard Building, Room SG2, Sidgwick Site.

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In the 90s a transformation of intimacy has become noticeable in some former Soviet countries. People began to delay marriage, chose cohabitation or solo-living, reproduced outside wedlock, and gave birth to fewer children. These demographic trends were affected by the spread of contraception and the economic turbulence of the transition period, where unemployment coexisted with a new job market and a media stream that brought Western cultural norms. After a brief post-Soviet period of democratization and liberalization, authorities in Belarus and Russia began to shift their political course towards authoritarianism. The process of restoring governments’ controlling role in both countries has been built upon the destruction of free media and the rising ideological influence of the Russian Orthodox Church. Citizens are being forced to embrace traditional beliefs on hegemonic femininity and masculinity and the heteronormative marital unit as the only way to a fulfilling life. This lecture explores the contradictions of being a woman in a society that sees female bodies and identities as objects of control, yet simultaneously expects women to take charge of their own destiny and participate in the free-market economy; the talk also considers how heteronormative propaganda frames the experiences of women who live outside the traditional family structure.

This talk is part of the Slavonic Studies series.

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