Birth of Democratic Citizenship

Birth of Democratic Citizenship

Women and Power in Modern Romania
Maria Bucur and Mihaela Miroiu
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 10/01/2018
ISBN: 978-0-253-03847-0
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What is it like to be a woman living through the transition from communism to democracy? What effect does this have on a woman’s daily life, on her concept of herself, her family, and her community? Birth of Democratic Citizenship presents the stories of women in Romania as they describe their experiences on the journey to democratic citizenship. In candid and revealing conversations, women between the ages of 24 and 83 explain how they negotiated their way through radical political transitions that had a direct impact on their everyday lives. Women who grew up under communism explore how these ideologies influenced their ideas of marriage, career, and a woman’s role in society. Younger generations explore how they interpret civic rights and whether they incorporate these rights into their relationships with their family and community.

Beginning with an overview of the role women have played in Romania from the late 18th century to today, Birth of Democratic Citizenship explores how the contemporary experience of women in postsocialist countries developed. The women speak about their reliance on and negotiations with communities, ranging from family and neighbors to local and national political parties. Birth of Democratic Citizenship argues that that the success of democracy will largely rely on the equal incorporation of women in the political and civic development of Romania. In doing so, it encourages frank consideration of what modern democracy is and what it will need to be to succeed in the future.

Author Bio

Maria Bucur is the John V. Hill Chair of East European History and Professor of Gender Studies at Indiana University. Her books include Eugenics and Modernization in Interwar Romania, Heroes and Victims: Remembering War in Twentieth-Century Romania, and Gendering Modernism: A Historical Reappraisal of the Canon.

Mihaela Miroiu is Professor of Political Science at the National School for Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania. Her books include Guidelines for Promoting Equity in Higher Education, Drumul Către Autonomie (The road to autonomy: feminist political theories), and Nepreţuitele Femei (Priceless women).


“Maria Bucur and Mihaela Miroiu have each done seminal work on the politics of gender in Romania and the broad topic of gender and post-communism. This book represents a major collaboration between them. Combining history, ethnography, and political analysis, Birth of Democratic Citizenship: Women and Power in Modern Romania is a tour de force. Because it speaks powerfully to questions that are being currently debated in Romania, Poland, and Hungary, it is a book that all who are interested in post-communist Europe will want to read. And because it analyzes the themes of women, power, and democracy, it is a book that will be of interest to the broadest possible readership among scholars and the general reading public.”
 — Jeffrey C. Isaac, author of Democracy in Dark Times

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Table of Contents


List of Abbreviations


1. Women from Romania’s Past into the Present: A Short Historical Overview

2: Men: Working through Gender Norms at Home

3. Children: The Most Beautiful Accomplishment of My Life

4. Work and Personal Satisfaction.

5. Communities: Beyond the Family

6. Communism as State Patriarchy

7. Facing Capitalism and Building Democracy