Collectivization and the Restratification of Everyday Life in Romania, 1949-1962
Public lecture by Gail Kligman (UCLA)
In largely agrarian countries like the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, and Romania, the collectivization of agriculture was the first mass action through which the new communist regime initiated its radical program of social, political, cultural, and economic transformation. Collectivization in Romania affected twelve million of the country’s sixteen million inhabitants. This talk presents a snapshot of various effects of collectivization on everyday life, exploring the transformation of social organization and hierarchies of social relations that resulted from this process. Especially significant were changes in gender roles and generational expectations. The bureaucratization of work transformed daily practice, along with the personhood ideals associated with it. And the Party’s institutionalization brought the political center directly into village life, thereby shaping the politicization of the rural world.
Gail Kligman is a professor of sociology at UCLA and director of the UCLA Center for European and Eurasian Studies. Her research explores the interrelationships between politics, policy, culture, and gender in socialist and postsocialist Romania, and in postsocialist Central East Europe. The intellectual interests that have informed her work are comparative, historical, and interdisciplinary; methodologically, she has done qualitative, ethnographic, and archival research. Prof. Kligman is the author of a number of books, including The Wedding of the Dead: Ritual, Poetics, and Popular Culture in Transylvania (UC Press, 1988); The Politics of Duplicity: Controlling Reproduction in Ceausescu’s Romania (UC Press, 1998) and The Politics of Gender after Socialism: A Comparative Historical Essay, co-authored with Prof. Susan Gal (Princeton University Press, 2000). Her most recent book, Peasants Under Siege: The Collectivization of Romanian Agriculture, 1949-1962, co-authored with Prof. Katherine Verdery, (Princeton University Press, 2011) and about which she will speak today, has received a number of awards, among them: the 2012 Barbara Jelavich Prize for Distinguished Monograph and the 2012 Davis Center (Harvard University) Book Prize in Political and Social Studies (both from the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies; and honorable mentions for the 2012 Barrington Moore Best Book Award in Comparative-Historical Sociology and the 2012 Political Sociology Section Best Book Award (both from the American Sociology Association).