Gender and housing in Soviet Russia

Private life in a public space

Author: Lynne Attwood

An acute housing shortage was one of the defining features of Soviet life. This book explores the housing problem throughout the 70 years of Soviet history, looking at changing political ideology on appropriate forms of housing under socialism, successive government policies on housing and the meaning and experience of ‘home’ for Soviet citizens. The book's main concern is housing as a gendered issue. To this end, it examines the use of housing to alter gender relations, and the ways in which domestic space was differentially experienced by men and women. The book places the research firmly in the context of existing literature. While this includes a number of short works that consider the gendered implications of housing policy in specific periods, the book provides an analysis of housing as a gendered issue throughout Soviet history, comparing and contrasting housing policy and the experience of home life under different leaders. Much of the material comes from Soviet magazines and journals, which enables the book to demonstrate how official ideas on housing and daily life changed during the course of the Soviet era, and were propagandised to the population. Through a series of in-depth interviews, the book also draws on the memories of people with direct experience of Soviet housing and domestic life.

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