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Gendered boundaries between the state, family and civil society: the case of Poland after 1989
Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Sociology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8263-5530
2013 (English)In: The Golden Chain: Family, Civil Society and the State / [ed] J. Nautz, P. Ginsborg and T. Nijhuis, New York: Berghahn Books, 2013, 240-258 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The article analyzes some aspects of the development of civil society networks in Poland since the collapse of socialism. I scrutinize the interplay between the concepts of family and the state policies in order to demonstrate how discourses on gender in Poland are mediated by the Catholic Church and its alliance with the state. Focusing on women’s participation in public life and women’s rights leads not only to an understanding of relations between the sexes, but to a deeper analysis of the relations between the state, civil society and family within a specific cultural context.

The examples discussed in the text suggest that civil society networks may emerge in democratic countries, even if they are discouraged by state policies, and members of society can at times challenge the notions of gendered citizenship and make use of their ‘private’ identities in order to gain certain political goals. Nonetheless, these examples also reveal the limitations of such strategies. The imbalance of power between the state apparatus and civil society activists is enormous, and without stabile and substantial resources and built-in mechanisms of support, the struggles of the latter often turn out to be frustrating and not fully successful.

Unfortunately, in the case of Poland the very roots of the newly established democratic order are patriarchal, and the sphere of formal politics is informed by the idea of a country as a nation rather than as a democratic society. The nation in turn is often imagined as a patriarchal family where ‘real’ women and men occupy their ‘natural’ places: women within the private sphere, bearing and rearing children, and men in the public sphere, protecting ‘womenandchildren’ and making all vital political decisions (Enloe 1991). As a result, instead of a classic triangle of the state, the market and civil society, Poles in general and Polish women in particular are trapped between the nation, the market and the church.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York: Berghahn Books, 2013. 240-258 p.
Series
European civil society, 6
Keyword [en]
civil society, family, social movements, Poland, women
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Politics, Economy and the Organization of Society; Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-21413Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84917678755ISBN: 0857454706 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-21413DiVA: diva2:688146
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 1751/42/2008
Available from: 2014-01-16 Created: 2014-01-16 Last updated: 2016-10-10Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
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  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
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