University of Warsaw (Polen)
E-Mail: d.kalwa [at] uw.edu.pl
Diverged legacies — divided movement. History of women’s organisations in Poland 1980-2018
The main aim of the project is to analyse duality of women’s emancipatory movement in Poland in order to examine a hypothesis about communist legacy as a crucial factor for processes of creation and development of two juxtaposed trends of emancipatory women’s movements, in regard to their agendas and ideological foundations in the time of the transition. At the first stage of the research, I will focus on mapping out the Polish women’s organizations and identifying these with emancipatory/feminist agendas, which will be an object of further analysis concerning possible relations between ideological profile and legacy of communist emancipation, with two extreme position as border points.
The first, working-called “state-socialist emancipation” underlines merits of the state policy, constructing new socio-political order, introducing legal and infrastructural instruments to maintain and control it with support and placing women’s organisations in a larger network of political order socio-political and supporting women’s organisations).
The second one, working-called „a dissident feminism” claims, that despite official ideology, communist regime maintained traditional gender order and used emancipation was an instrument of social control. The analysis at this stage will focus on issues, such as concepts of emancipation, patterns of political activity (on local, and central levels), ideological framework (with special attention to the process of transformation of the attitude to the past in the course of last 20 years), in order to answer the question, how the communist legacy is problematised and then used as argument in the process of construction of emancipatory/feminist collective identities.
The analytical material will cover dispersed sources: documents of the organizations (programs, initiatives, annual reports) public and social media reporting on women’s movement activity (magazines, newspapers, blogs, websites, discussion lists etc.), interviews with women activists representing different options of women's movement (existed materials and new interviews conducted for comparative purposes. Theoretical framework for the analysis will provide ground theory with its potential to deconstruct initial assumptions of the analysis and to construct new configurations of communist legacy and contemporary feminism in Poland.
Dobrochna Kałwa is Head of the Department of the 20th Century History at the Faculty of History University of Warsaw.
During her stay at the ZZF Potsam, she will be doing research in Department I "Communism and Society" in the project "Legacies of Communism"