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Title: Gender and authenticity in a post-socialist institution
Author: Read, Rosie
ISNI:       0000 0001 3510 3446
Awarding Body: University of Manchester : University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2002
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The collapse of socialism has generated enormous social, economic and political upheaval in central and eastern Europe. The impact of these transformations on constructions of gender and daily gendered practices have been hugely diverse. Nevertheless, an emerging, recurrent theme has been the prominence of competing and contested ideas about motherhood, reproduction, femininity and women's work. This thesis addresses how these tensions emerge and unfold within an institution in Prague comprising of a convent, a women's prison and a nursing home. It traces how constructions of motherhood and nurture and particular idioms of 'public' and 'private' moralities, all characteristic of the socialist era in Czechoslovakia, are being reformulated within new ideologies of 'work', patient care and prisoner rehabilitation within this institution. It explores how these processes echo with the experience of different people in a variety of ways. 5 A key concern is how social relationships and daily practices in this institution constitute 'home' as an imagined domain of gendered 'authenticity'. It is proposed that 'home' operates as a key imaginary that is perpetually reified and transformed, invoked as a justification for processes of categorisation and discipline, but also powerfully used to refuse and transcend them. The thesis focuses on how 'home' is performed in ways which constitute it as an authentic 'reality' outside the institution. Accompanying the written thesis is a documentary film, Domov, the making of which was an integral part of the research project. Ethnographically, the thesis focuses on three main areas of investigation. Firstly there is a discussion of eating and drinking practices as arenas for competing ideas about emotional labour and the simulation of 'home' in the institution. Secondly the different scopic regimes in the nursing home and prison are explored. Here the use of a video camera as a research method is central to the theoretical consideration of different modalities of surveillance. Finally, the narrative of the accompanying film is theoretically elaborated, through a consideration of how the imaginaries of 'home' maintained by three women (a patient, a prisoner and a nurse) were fundamentally challenged on their departure from the institution
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available