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How to combine motherhood and wage labour: Hungarian labour expert debate during the sixties
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3442-187X
2007 (English)In: Gender, equality and difference during and after state socialism, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan , 2007Chapter in book (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
Abstract [en]

Following the 1956 revolt in Hungary, the Stalinist doctrine on women’s emancipation was reframed in the context of a wider process of “consolidation” of political, social and economic relations. Post-Stalinist rhetoric and practice questioned the suitability of women’s bodies with their reproductive functions for “masculine” work tasks and argued that women’s role in society should be based on “realistic” assessments of gender difference. Women were to be offered “suitable jobs” which could accommodate their family roles and maternal duties. Simultaneously, the family’s responsibility for providing childcare during infancy was reappraised, reinforcing demands on women’s time and energy. The paper argues that the shift in gendered constructions of the organisation of labour, which is reflected in the expert articles analysed here, represents an intersection of class- and gender-based power struggles. In these power struggles, managers gained extended autonomy and control over decisions pertaining to recruitment and the organisation of labour within their enterprises. Working class men gained power through securing their positions against newcomers and establishing their right to maintain higher positions in the gender and class-based hierarchy of labour. Managers and working men seemed to have reached a mutually acceptable compromise. Labour experts lent their support to “realistic” arguments, thus backing managerial/working class interests against ideologically motivated goals. However, they maintained a degree of professional integrity, by alluding to scientific studies, and warning against generalised essentialist assumptions about women’s capabilities. Nonetheless, they failed to problematise the underlying gender contract, accepting instead a view of women’s reproductive responsibilities as natural.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan , 2007.
, Studies in central and eastern Europe
Keyword [en]
gender, Hungary, expert, work
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-22859ISBN: 978-0-230-52484-2ISBN: 0-230-52484-2OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-22859DiVA: diva2:50632
Available from: 2007-01-23 Created: 2007-01-23 Last updated: 2015-10-16

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Asztalos Morell, Ildikó
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