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Title: Work and leisure today : a feminist exploration in Sofia
Author: Kaldaramova, Stefani
ISNI:       0000 0004 7226 7265
Awarding Body: University of Bedfordshire
Current Institution: University of Bedfordshire
Date of Award: 2017
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Throughout Bulgarian history, the dominant pattern of gender relations has always been the patriarchal one. Since 1989, the wind of change in restructured Europe has blown into Bulgaria many new cultural, political and social ideas and influences, but has subdued little of the conservative values and normative gender discourse. In fact, women‘s position in the public and the private spheres did not change much during the transitional period and consequent democratisation and restructuring of the economy, throughout which, Bulgarian women faced numerous challenges in balancing work/leisure and family. Yet, no comprehensive research study exists, which explores the problematics of the work-leisure relationship for the generation of women that came of age during this transitional period. This research study examines the work and leisure meanings for full-time employed, Generation Y, women in Sofia (Bulgaria) in order to shine light on the way they negotiate gendered constraints in everyday life and propose areas for further investigation. To accomplish this aim, feminist, case study methodology is utilised. Moreover, the epistemological problematics of the feminist research process are addressed by the researcher‘s reflexivity and authoethnography. The method of personal narrative is chosen to reflect the invisibility of neoliberal structural constraints and situates personal experiences in the process of existing inequalities. Thus, a better understanding of the role and position of the researcher in this study is presented. The research findings illustrate the ways leisure and work meanings are constructed in the context of post-feminist guise of equality, in which, young Sofian women are now attributed with capacity. This is exemplified by participant‘s conceptualisations of work, leisure and gender culture. Individual women express contradictory view about gender roles, femininity and masculinity that illustrate a collective sense of rejection of feminism (in its mainstream sense) as a threat to heterosexual gender relations. Findings reveal that Generation Y, Sofian women‘s femininity does not necessarily fit into a simple polarity, that is either 'traditional‘ (women as wives/mothers and labourers) or 'modern‘ (assimilating to 'Western‘ values and lifestyles). Rather, their identities relate to both of these selves and are becoming increasingly hybrid and fluid. Their leisure is central life pursuit and arguably exists to empower women to resist gender inequalities, perpetuated by both new and old gender discourses and ideologies. Drawing from the contemporary field of feminist leisure studies with a an explicit focus on interdisciplinarity and post-structural feminisms the study wishes to contribute to existing debates on women‘s multiple leisure meanings and leisure as an experiences that empower individuals and, more broadly, challenge cultural norms about women‘s embodied capacities. Finally, management and operational bodies of the leisure industries can potentially use this case study to facilitate leisure opportunities, services and products for Generation Y, Sofian women, who are now active participants in the capitalist, consumer culture.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: feminism ; young women ; Bulgaria ; leisure