Making Sense of Dictatorship
How did political power function in the communist regimes of Central and Eastern Europe after 1945? Making Sense of Dictatorship addresses this question with a particular focus on the acquiescent behavior of the majority of the population until, at the end of the 1980s, their rejection of state socialism and its authoritarian world.
The authors refer to the concept of Sinnwelt, the way in which groups and individuals made sense of the world around them. The essays focus on the dynamics of everyday life and the extent to which the relationship between citizens and the state was collaborative or antagonistic. Each chapter addresses a different aspect of life in this period, including modernization, consumption and leisure, and the everyday experiences of “ordinary people,” single mothers, or those adopting alternative lifestyles.
Empirically rich and conceptually original, the essays in this volume suggest new ways to understand how people make sense of everyday life under dictatorial regimes.
Pavel Kolář and Michal Kopeček
Ana Kladnik and Celia Donert
SINNWELT AND EIGEN-SINN
Socialism as Sinnwelt: Communist Dictatorship and its as a World of Meaning in a Cultural-Historical Perspective
Neither Consent nor Opposition: Eigen-Sinn; or, How to Make Sense of Compliance and Self-Assertion under Communist Domination
AUTHORITIES AND DOMINATION
Policeman Nicolae: The Story of One Man’s Life and Work in the Socialist Republic of Romania (1960–89)
The East German Reporting System: Normality and Legitimacy Through Bureaucracy
Late Communist Elites and the Demise of State Socialism in Czechoslovakia (1986–1989)
EVERYDAY SOCIAL PRACTICES AND SINN-WELT
Local Self-Governance, Voluntary Practices, and the Sinnwelt of Socialist Velenje
Modern Housekeeping Worlds; or, How Much is Thirty Percent Really? Eigensinnige Consumer Practices and the Hungarian Trade Union’s “Washing Machine Campaign” of 1957–58
Single Mothers, Lonely Children: Polish Families, Socialist Modernity, and the Experience of Crisis of the Late 1970s and 1980s
“Since Makarenko the Time for Experiments has Passed”: Peace, Gender, and Human Rights in East Berlin during the 1980s
INTELLECTUAL AND EXPERT WORLDS AND (DE-)LEGITIMIZATION
Problems with Progress in Late Socialist Czechoslovakia: The Example of Most, North Bohemia
Authentic Community and Autonomous Individual: Making Sense of Socialism in Late Socialist Hungary
The “Will to Publicity” and its Publicists: Curating the Memory of Czechoslovak Samizdat
Dissident Legalism: Human Rights, Socialist Legality, and the Birth of Legal Resistance in the 1970s Democratic Opposition in Czechoslovakia and Poland
List of contributors