Recent Submissions

  • “An Ebbing Tide Lowers all Boats”: How the Great Recession of 2008 has Affected Men and Women in Central and Eastern Europe

    Fodor, Éva; Nagy, Beáta; Department of Gender Studies (CAIRN, 2014)
    In this paper we explore the impact of the economic recession of 2008 on gender inequality in the labor force in Central and Eastern European countries. We argue that job and occupational segregation protected women’s employment more than men’s in the CEE region as well, but unlike in more developed capitalist economies, women’s level of labor force participation declined and their rates of poverty increased during the crisis years. We also explore gender differences in opinions on the impact of the recession on people’s job satisfaction. For our analysis we use published data from EUROSTAT and our own calculations from EU SILC and ESS 2010.
  • Privatization and the postsocialist fertility decline

    Scheiring, Gabor; Hui, Bryant; Irdam, Darja; Azarova, Aytalina; Fodor, Éva; Stuckler, David; Esping-Andersen, Gosta; King, Lawrence; Department of Gender Studies (Political Economy Research Institute, 2020)
    In this article, we analyze the privatization of companies as a potential but so far neglected,factor behind the postsocialist fertility decline. We test this hypothesis using a novel database,comprising information on the demographic and enterprise trajectories of 52 Hungarian towns,between 1989-2006 and a cross-country dataset of 28 countries in Eastern Europe. We fit fixed,and random-effects models adjusting for potential confounding factors and control for time-variant,factors and common trends. We find that privatization is significantly associated with fertility,decline, explaining approximately half of the overall fertility decline across the 52 towns and the 28 countries.
  • Degree and structures of women's labor market integration: The case of Székesfehérvar, Hungary [FLOWS Working Paper]

    Kispeter, Erika; Redai, Dorottya; Fodor, Éva; Jensen, Per H.; Department of Gender Studies (European ParliamentAalborg, 2014)
    The FLOWS project analyses the causes and effects of women’s labour market integration, which is an issue that represents a major challenge for the European Union and its member states, and is supposedly also a precondition for the sustainability of the European social model. The overall aim is to analyse (1) how local welfare systems support women’s labour market participation, as well as (2) the extent to which (and under which conditions) female labour market integration has contributed to the strengthening social cohesion. The project focuses on how public and private welfare services such as care and lifelong learning intended to support women’s labour market integration have been designed; on how women of different classes, qualifications, ethnicities, and geographical locations have grasped and made use of such policies, and on how the increase in women’s labour market integration has affected structures of inequality and social cohesion.
  • The Policy on Gender Equality in Hungary

    Fodor, Éva; Department of Gender Studies (European ParliamentBrussels, 2011)
    This note reviews gender equality legislation and programs in Hungary in several areas of primary importance for both policy makers and women,themselves. These include the field of paid and unpaid labour, the,reconciliation of paid work and care responsibilities, violence against,women, access to political decision making as well as the existence of,gender stereotypes in Hungarian society.
  • Working conditions and gender in an enlarged Europe

    Pollert, Anna; Fodor, Éva; Department of Gender Studies (European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working ConditionsDublin, 2005)
    Working conditions and gender in an enlarged Europe presents a comparative study of working conditions for women in 10 central eastern European countries. The countries include eight of the 10 new Member States of the European Union, and two of the candidate countries, Bulgaria and Romania. National research teams provided a wealth of material analysing key dimensions of the labour market and work situation for women during a period of economic transition. This report’s purpose is threefold: to bring together the findings of the national reports; to explore in greater detail the Foundation data in terms of comparison between its 2001 survey of the acceding and candidate countries and 2000 survey of the EU15; and to use the national reports to evaluate the Foundation findings. 
  • Collective resilience and resistance in hybrid times: Gender struggles in Germany, Turkey and Sweden

    Çağatay, Selin; Göker, Zeynep Gülru; Hünler, Olga Selin; Polatdemir, Aslı (Taylor & Francis, 2023-06-22)
    In activist circles, the concept of resilience seems to have captured the spotlight once enjoyed by resistance. Instead of treating resilience as antithetical to resistance, and a discursive neoliberal vehicle that seeks individual solutions to collective problems, this article demonstrates its relationality to resistance in the context of online/offline struggles of feminist and LGBTI + activists challenged by mobilizations against gender and sexual rights. Reflecting on the discussions and outputs of a series of digital workshops involving activists from Germany, Turkey and Sweden, the article investigates from a transnational perspective the meanings and aspects of collective resilience in the anti-gender context, and what resilience entails in the increasing online/offline hybridity of activism. Three themes emerge from this investigation: the connectedness of resistance and resilience across scale and context, the pronouncing of care and support networks as activist resources, and the emergence of the need and efforts to develop new alliances and solidarity structures in the face of the dual challenges of anti-gender mobilizations and neoliberalism. Resistance and resilience are intertwined in gender struggles taking place in the anti-gender context, in that the cultivation of resilience through care networks, the mobilization of positive affect, and the formation of dynamic and flexible solidarities enable and help sustain resistances in the online/offline interface. While online/offline hybridity offers opportunities to develop and sustain individual/collective resources, the article finds, attention should be paid to the processes of exclusion of underprivileged women and queer people in hybrid times.
  • “Millions of working housewives”: The International Co-operative Women’s Guild and household labour in the interwar period

    Tešija, Jelena (Taylor & Francis, 2023-07-04)
    The article focuses on household labour as one of the key agendas of the International Co-operative Women’s Guild (ICWG) and on the contributions Central and Eastern European countries made to this agenda in the interwar period. I argue that ICWG women made household labour a policy issue in its own right and provided space for debates between women of diverse ideological positions coming from different political and economic systems and national contexts. Zooming in on key publications and paying attention to the organizational dynamics and complex relationship between communists and social democrats in the ICWG, I first explore how the ICWG discussed household labour and the solutions it offered to reduce the burden of such work. In the second part of the analysis, I argue that because it was crucial to their work, ICWG women inserted aspects of household labour into international discussions on women’s and/or labour-related issues. By doing so, they tried to 1) establish themselves as experts on household labour-based issues and 2) advance how topics such as popular nutrition and maternal deaths were approached in international settings.
  • “The rulers are the causes of the war […] They are the reason there is no bread in our town”: Women’s food riots in the Hungarian countryside, 1917–1918

    Varsa, Eszter (Taylor & Francis, 2023-06-26)
    The essay discusses women’s food riots in the Hungarian territories of the Habsburg Empire during World War I between spring 1917 and summer 1918. While the existing literature has primarily focused on urban contexts in a variety of European countries, this essay analyses the Hungarian countryside with a focus on small towns and villages where and around which inhabitants were mostly agrarian workers. The agrarian population was especially hard hit by the increasingly coercive wartime economic measures, and especially by the high cost of living and the break-down in food supply. Using archival sources and news reports, the article approaches food riots as a form of labour activism signalling (agrarian) women’s efforts to improve their desperate living and working conditions and, thus, as a local political response to the international and national political and economic crisis that unfolded in the Dual Monarchy shortly before its disintegration during the second phase of the Great War. It pays particular attention to participants’ social/ethnic background, agendas, and repertoires of action, including the antisemitic character of some of the riots and authorities’ reaction to these uprisings. The essay, thus, also examines the interactions between members of local-level (un)organized activism and regional and national governance.
  • The treacherous trade unionist: Paraschiva B. Ion and labour activism in the Romanian tobacco sector, 1920s to 1940s

    Ghiț, Alexandra (Taylor & Francis, 2023-06-28)
    What did it mean to be a woman labour activist in a state-owned industry in Romania before 1945? In this article, I construct a political biography of Paraschiva B. Ion, a worker and trade unionist in the “Belvedere” tobacco factory in Bucharest during the interwar period. P. B. Ion led factory- and national-level social democratic trade unions and served as an elected delegate to factory-level and municipal-level workers’ representative bodies. At the same time, she participated in labour control practices, including during the Second World War. I argue that P. B. Ion’s career illustrates how, in the interwar period, women labour activists in social democratic trade unions in Romania could become more prominent participants in labour governance on the shop floor, municipal, and national levels while not being involved in labour governance at the international scale. Like other trade unionists in Europe, at times, P.B. Ion supported certain claims made by women workers (including through expert knowledge production) and at other times restrained them. I position P. B. Ion’s activism in a domestic context marked by competing labour agitation and organizing in the tobacco sector, activities shaped by a legal framework that hindered labour organizing.
  • Part-time work: The co-production of a contested employment model for women in Austria and internationally, 1950s to 1980s

    Helfert, Veronika (Taylor & Francis, 2023-07-06)
    In 2022, every second employed woman in Austria worked part-time, while only 12.6 percent of men did so. In more affluent countries, part-time work has evolved from a special form of employment to a gendered norm in the past six decades, whereas in state-socialist and post-state-socialist Europe, this model of women’s employment played a much less pronounced role historically. Albeit contested, part-time work has been a concern of women trade unionists since the 1950s. This article examines the emergence and evolution of an important trend in the history of women’s work from a multi-level perspective. It explores how women activists in the ICFTU, the ILO and in Austria dealt with part-time work as a method of harmonizing women’s unpaid and paid work. Collaboration with the ILO played an important role in Austrian developments, and Austrian activists aimed to impact on international decision-making. Furthermore, the article shows the rather hidden role women civil servants played in generating knowledge on the topic. This analysis of the evolution of the gendered norm of part-time work and its contestation contributes to recent research on shifts in reproductive arrangements and gender relations in the second half of the twentieth century.
  • Polish women labour inspectors between the world wars: Scrutinizing the workplace and mobilizing public opinion

    Popova, Zhanna (Taylor & Francis, 2023-06-29)
    This article explores the history of women’s activism within the state apparatus, focusing on women labour inspectors in interwar Poland. Part of the State Labour Inspectorate since its creation in 1919, women inspectors often combined their professional duties with a distinctly activist stance. Like their male colleagues, they ensured compliance with labour legislation by performing factory visits and collecting information on the conditions of workers’ lives and labour. But they also led campaigns in the press, published books and brochures intended to mobilize public opinion around issues related to the labour of women and minors, and sought to build activist networks aimed at the improvement of women workers’ conditions. They exposed particularly exploitative labour arrangements, such as the labour of underage apprentices, and conceptualized them as urgent social problems. These multiple engagements meant that women labour inspectors moved between different scales of action including direct intervention on the shop floor, research and publications aimed at a national audience, and transnational contacts with the International Labour Organization, which had been committed to improving women workers’ conditions since its inception.
  • “An eight-hour day for women workers”: Negotiating working time in the Bulgarian textile industry between international labour politics and the shop floor, 1890s to 1930s

    Masheva, Ivelina (Taylor & Francis, 2023-07-17)
    The article investigates the issue of the eight-hour workday and its application from the early 1890s – when it first appeared on the Bulgarian organized labour movement’s agenda following the decisions of the Second International – to its adoption in national legislation as well as by the International Labour Organization in 1919, and finally, the enforcement of the eight-hour day in the Bulgarian textile industry between the two world wars. This article explores continuities and changes in the struggle to adopt and enforce the eight-hour day, conceptualizing them as parts of a single negotiated social process. The article employs a gendered and multi-scale approach to explore how working time limits were negotiated on and between the shop floor, the national political stage, and in international labour organizations by diverse social groups such as (un)organized (women) workers, trade unions and labour activists with various political affiliations, the state through its labour inspectorate, as well the International Labour Organization. The article goes beyond the gender-neutral language of legal documents, instead arguing that the eight-hour day was conceptualized differently – with some variations depending on women’s life-course stage and social circumstances – and held particular importance for women workers.
  • The biopolitics of languaging in the cybernetic fold: A decolonial and queer ear to the cosmo-poetics

    Yoon, Hyaesin; Department of Gender Studies (Taylor & Francis, 2020)
    Prompted by Susan Sontag’s ‘The World as India’ (2002), in which the young employees at outsourced call centres in India figure the distinction between human and machine, this article explores languaging as a biopolitical process of racialization and speciation in an era of cybernetics. To this end, the article engages with Caribbean critic Sylvia Wynter and Asian American writer Margaret Rhee, whose works illuminate human linguistic practice as decolonial and queering modes of engendering and inhabiting the more-than-human world. First, this article attempts a decolonialist intervention into posthumanist performativity in conversation with Wynter’s theory of homo narrans, and especially her hypothesis on the cybernetic autopoiesis of diverse cosmogonies. Then, the article discusses Margaret Rhee’s poetry Robot, Love (2017) and her Kimchi Poetry Machine project (debut 2014), which engage with poetry as an intimate interaction between human and machine against a backdrop of the queer genealogy of artificial intelligence and the fractured affinities between robots and Asian Americans. In conclusion, this article calls for a decolonial approach to posthuman linguistic performativity, which is less a territory for securing humanity than a decolonial and diasporic feminist technology of listening to difference – which I call cosmo-poetics.
  • The body of shame in affect theory and deconstruction

    Timár, Eszter; Department of Gender Studies (Taylor & Francis, 2019)
  • MÈRE MÉTAPHORE: The maternal materiality of water in astrida neimanis’s bodies of water

    Timár, Eszter; Department of Gender Studies (Taylor & Francis, 2023)
    Bridging feminist new materialism and feminist phenomenology, Astrida Neimanis’s volume, Bodies of Water, discusses water in terms of nurturing maternality based on a figural reservoir of what she terms “amniotics” and “planetary breastmilk” in order to posit this maternality as the material condition of the embodiment of life. In this article I show that this imagery is a construction consistently haunted by figures of anxiety and loss. I do this by first revisiting earlier interventions in deconstruction concerning materiality and feminist theory as follows. First, pointing out a resonance between this figuration of wateriness and Kant’s notion of the dynamic sublime, I turn to Paul de Man’s reading of materiality in the Kantian sublime in order to suggest that Neimanis’s figuration of maternal water is an effect of an aesthetic ideology. Subsequently, I will revisit Diana Fuss’s reading of Irigaray – Neimanis’s main feminist resource – to show that the ontological status of water as maternal is constructed via an Irigarayan distinction between metaphor and metonymy. Finally, in order to show ways in which the maternal materiality of water is haunted by figures of anxiety and loss, I will consult Elissa Marder’s more recent work on the maternal function.
  • Iure Theutonico? German settlers and legal frameworks for immigration to Hungary in an East-Central European perspective

    Szende, Katalin; Department of Gender Studies (Taylor & Francis, 2019)
    The article discusses the strongly disputed and over-politicised presence of the Germans, the single most populous minority ethnic group in medieval East-Central Europe, and their impact on their host societies, notably the kingdoms of Hungary, Poland and Bohemia, and the duchy of Silesia. It examines the routes and reasons for the arrival of the immigrant population, the topography of settlement and the activities pursued; and it discusses the legal background to the arrival of immigrants and their co-existence with the majority society. In most of East-Central Europe, the arrival of the German settlers led to the adaptation of ius Theutonicum, a framework created by sovereigns to accommodate the immunities and obligations of the newcomers. In Hungary, it never took root. Instead, settlers were accommodated legally by means of the liberties of hospites, until this stratum of external and internal migrants was absorbed into peasantry and bourgeoisie, respectively.
  • The Erotic of Self-Harm(s): A Catastrophic Body in Daniil Kharms and Yakov Druskin

    Semashyna, Mariia; Department of Gender Studies (Elsevier, 2022)
    This article addresses the biopolitics of writing and the construction of the writing body as catastrophic in the notebooks of Daniil Kharms (1905–1942) and the essays by his friend philosopher Yakov Druskin (1902–1980) from the late 1920s and 1930s. I aim to show how their personal writings work as an auto-aggressive text, an act of textual self-harm and a form of freedom in a situation where resistance is felt to be unavailable. The close reading focuses on the two tendencies in which the biological comes to be understood as political: the articulation of a social/political difference as physiological, and the centrality of sexuality to a project of selfknowledge that diary-writing offers. Narrating social exclusion in the language of ailments, this writing appears almost literally bio-political: biologising political difference and inviting a political reading of the origins of the illness. By tracing these instances, the article shows how the failing body becomes a language in which the sense of alienation and fear can be expressed, and spiritual insights experienced.
  • 'Unfettered Freedom' Revisited: Hungarian Historical Journals between 1989 and 2018

    Pető, Andrea; Barna, Ildikó; Department of Gender Studies (Cambridge University Press, 2021)
    In his 1992 article, ‘Today, Freedom is Unfettered in Hungary,’ Columbia University history professor István Deák argued that after 1989 Hungarian historical research enjoyed ‘unfettered freedom. Deák gleefully listed the growing English literature on Hungarian history and hailed the ‘step-by step dismantling of the Marxist-Leninist edifice in historiography’ that he associated with the Institute of History at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS) under the leadership of György Ránki (1930–88). In this article he argued that the dismantling of communist historiography had started well before 1989. Besides celebrating the establishment of the popular science-oriented historical journal, History (História) (founded in 1979) and new institutions such as the Európa Intézet – Europa Institute (founded in 1990) or the Central European University (CEU) (founded in 1991) as turning points in Hungarian historical research, Deák listed the emergence of the question of minorities and Transylvania; anti-Semitism and the Holocaust; as well as the 1956 revolution. It is very true that these topics were addressed by prominent members of the Hungarian democratic opposition who were publishing in samizdat publications: among them János M. Rainer, the director of the 1956 Institute after 1989, who wrote about 1956. This list of research topics implies that other topics than these listed before had been free to research and were not at all political. This logic interiorised and duplicated the logic of communist science policy and refused to acknowledge other ideological interventions, including his own, while also insisting on the ‘objectivity’ of science. Lastly, Deák concluded that ‘there exists a small possibility that the past may be rewritten again, in an ultra-conservative and xenophobic vein. This is, however, only a speculation.’ Twenty years later Ignác Romsics, the doyen of Hungarian historiography, re-stated Deák's claim, arguing that there are no more ideological barriers for historical research. However, in his 2011 article Romsics strictly separated professional historical research as such from ‘dilettantish or propaganda-oriented interpretations of the past, which leave aside professional criteria and feed susceptible readers – and there are always many – with fraudulent and self-deceiving myths’. He thereby hinted at a new threat to the historical profession posed by new and ideologically driven forces. The question of where these ‘dilettantish or propaganda-oriented’ historians are coming from has not been asked as it would pose a painful question about personal and institutional continuity. Those historians who have become the poster boys of the illiberal memory politics had not only been members of the communist party, they also received all necessary professional titles and degrees within the professional community of historians.
  • A gender history of Hungarian intelligence services during the Cold War

    Pető, Andrea; Department of Gender Studies (Taylor & Francis, 2020)
    Based on the examination of the positions and activities of women employees from the interwar period until the 1980s in the accessible archival sources of Hungarian intelligence services, this paper claims that since in intelligence women employees have been deployed as “controlling images” of men. It argues that for women, the intelligence service sector is just like any other paid employment: with time, women were gradually integrated in it; and the level of their involvement reflected the level of women's emancipation in the given society. Women working for the intelligence services had to counter workplace discrimination just like any other female employee in more ordinary jobs. However, intelligence work has an additional special feature: sexism and gender-based discrimination are intrinsic parts of it, because the deployment of femininity as “Otherness” is part and parcel of the trade and the result of deliberate methodological decisions.
  • Current Comment: The Illiberal Academic Authority. An Oxymoron?

    Pető, Andrea; Department of Gender Studies (Wiley, 2021)
    The emergence of illiberal science policy also raises serious questions about the European scientific authorization process as the rapid spread of illiberal science policies, such as closing accredited study programs and research institutions, privatizing higher education, appointing university leaders based on their loyalty to government, ignoring quality assurance, etc. demand not only a reaction but also critical analysis. The article applies the theoretical framework of the polypore state (Grzebalska, Pető) to tackle the difficulty lies in understanding the rise of illiberal science policy in Hungary, as it is a twofold case study in both polypore government control/state capture, and neoliberal marketization ofhigher education.

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