CfP: The Watchful Society: Sexuality, Society, and Vigilance in East-Central and Southeast Europe, 1945–1989 (Event, 11/2022, Fischbachau); by: 15.04.2022

Collegium Carolinum, CRC 1369 Cultures of Vigilance (Web)

Time: 17.-20.11.2022
Venue: Fischbachau, Bayern
Proposals by: 15.04.2022

Sexuality is probably the most private area of human life. Yet modern states interfere with this sphere in various ways, beginning with the legislative frameworks for gender relations and extending to the definition of legitimate sexual desire and the legal regulation of reproductive decisions. The realization of such norms determined by laws always requires the participation of many individuals, however. Without people dedicating their attention and activity to the enforcement of a norm – be it of an ethical-moral, legal, or societal kind – that norm has no effect.

When the communist parties in East-Central and Southeast Europe came into power following the Second World War, they offered a promise of comprehensive renewal extending all the way down to the individual private sphere. Among other things, socialism was expected to establish a new gender order and liberate the people from repressive “bourgeois” and church-dictated sexual morals. As research in recent years has shown, this project delivered conflicting outcomes. A relatively progressive legislation compared to many Western European countries on the one hand was accompanied by considerable pressure to conform as well as limited and strictly defined individual latitude for decision-making – especially with regard to sex and the body – on the other. This has been described as a typical result of a reform “from above”.

The goal is to discuss the sexual orders of the socialist states of East-Central and Southeast Europe from a broader perspective. While top-down processes are relatively well researched, the horizontal negotiation, control, and enforcement of norms has hitherto not been the focus of much scholarly attention. The interaction between these two axes has only been examined sporadically as well. The organizers are therefore particularly interested in forms of monitoring sexuality that occurred below the governmental level. Read more and source … (Web)