Memories of women : a path from microsociology to social history.

Intervenante : Anna WACHOWIAK, Professeure de sociologie Université des Sciences Humaines, Szczecin, Pologne

Animatrice : Ewa BOGALSKA-MARTIN, Professeure de sociologie l’UGA, directrice de l’équipe « Justice sociale » de l’UMR PACTE.

Our purpose is to surrender up the reflection in which way the memory of women may unable passage from the picture of situation of women anchored in microsociology as it was and still is the dominant perspective and to stress up that if we want to understand it we need to switch to social history rooted in the gender perspective. The women were socialized to a large degree in the spirit of being on the sidelines of important events in communism and other political evens and many of them shared a conviction (belief) that they played marginal social role, therefore they do not have anything to say researcher interested by this particular moment of history of their country.

In the study, conducted in three countries Poland, Romania and Est Germany our ambition was reaching the stories of ordinary women who, up to now, rarely or never had had a voice. We know them all, or most of (primarily) as  collective character of the second plan, but though also as our mother, grandmother, neighbors and friends… The criterion of choice we made to ask the woman to participate to our study wasn’t their sacrifice but the fact, that they lived in definite time and place and in conditions known as the "socialist state". Whether they were or felt themself victims, remains an open question. The issue, does they the “historiographical victim” is evident, because there is nearly complete skipping history of their life in hitherto historical narrations devoted into communism.

On the back side of our interlocutors appeared the figure of witnesses pointing out not what history is but what is in the first level important in life, what is important for themselves  in the moment, when they are talking about it.

As has pointed out Piotr Filipkowski “The movement of oral history is carring up the double rescue's function : the empowerment of witnesses. One as victims of the past and second as victims of the history." Even if in the case of our interlocutors a matter of double victim was not so obvious, the social function of narrator experience remains crucial point.

To be victim or to be hero have the differents faces and not necessarily in connection with a participation in the struggle with the regime which is spoken up,  but just how to cope with its consequences. Our stories are often about a very heroic struggle to deal with what bring daily life.


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