Women, the State & Revolution. Soviet Family Policy and Social Life, by Wendy Z. Goldman

Price and stock to confirm
Ed. Cambridge, 1995. Size 23 x 15 cm. State: Used, very good. 350 pages

When the Bolsheviks came to power in 1917, they widely believed that under socialism, the family would “wither away.” They envisioned a society in which communal dining halls, daycare centers, and public laundries would replace the unpaid labor of women in the home.

Freed from their domestic burden, women would achieve equality with men. Mutual affection and respect would replace legal and economic dependence as the basis for relations between the sexes. A generation of Soviet lawmakers thus crafted legislation to liberate women and encourage the “withering away” of the family. They legalized abortion in 1920 and made it available to women free of charge. Yet by 1936 social experimentation had given way to increasingly conservative solutions aimed at strengthening traditional family ties and women’s reproductive role.

The state outlawed abortion. Party officials denounced the revolutionary ideas of the 1920s as “petty-bourgeois anarchist propaganda”.

This book examines this great social reversal, focusing on the dynamic relationship between state and society in the retreat from the ideology of the revolution. It explores how women, peasants, and orphaned street children responded to Bolshevik attempts to remake the family, and how their opinions and experiences in turn were used by the state to meet its own needs.

CONTENTS
List of tables
Acknowledgments
1- The origins of the Bolshevik vision: Love unfettered, women free
2- The first retreat: Besprizornost’ and socialized child rearing
3- Law and life collide: Free union and the wageearning population
4- Stirring the sea of peasant stagnation
5- Pruning the “bourgeois thicket”: Drafting a new Family Code
6- Sexual freedom or social chaos: The debate on the 1926 Code
7- Controlling reproduction: Women versus the state
8- Recasting the vision: The resurrection of the family
Conclusion Stalin’s oxymorons: Socialist state, law, and family
Index