Fragmented Identities
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Fragmented Identities : Popular Culture, Sex, and Everyday Life in Postcommunist Romania

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Observing postcommunist Romania with the dual vision of a native and a scholar, Denise Roman focuses on the fluid act of identity-formation, and the construction or absence of identity-politics, in several minority or disempowered groups: youth, Jews, women, and queers. Roman shows how both aesthetic and moral judgments are born from and embedded in popular culture. Fragmented Identities is rich in observation and analysis, broad in scope, and exuberant in its account of cultural innovation and discourse wrought in response to the end of Communism and the influence of globalization.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 192 pages
  • 160 x 235 x 15mm | 349.27g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 0739105744
  • 9780739105740

Review quote

Ms. Roman is anything but a detached traveler, although she does bring to her writing a most insightful and often amusing account of the state of politics and identity in Bucharest. But this is politics and identity in no common understanding of those terms. Skillfully teasing her own innovative interpretations from the insights of historians, sociologists, political, feminist, and cultural theorists, Ms. Roman ... dismantle[s] old conceptions and convincingly reconstruct[s] new ones about the 'politics of life' in Eastern Europe today. By brilliantly bringing together disparate strands of thought in truly innovative, provocative, and sometimes even sly ways, she has written not only an outstanding piece of academic scholarship, but a real 'page turner.' -- Debra Renee Kaufman, Northeastern University; author of Rachel's Daughters In this important book Denise Roman takes us to an exciting journey through 1980s and 1990s Bucharest. Her analysis of experiences and practices of the everyday life of women, youth, and queers leaves the reader with a deeper understanding of the complexity of the economic, political, and social changes the Eastern European societies underwent as they emerged from Communism. -- Gordana Rabrenovic, Northeastern University Roman has managed to do what only a handful of scholars have even attempted: to bring the study of Romania squarely within the field of cultural studies. Rather than treat Romania as an exotic exception, Roman shows how constructed social identities-of gender, sexual orientation, generation, and even aesthetic taste-exhibit recognizable patterns. Her walk through the complicated landscape of Bucharest and the country at large is not only a nuanced and readable work on one country's postcommunist experience; it is also a smart and often funny example of cultural theory in action. -- Charles King, Ion Ratiu Associate Professor of Romanian Studies, Georgetown University; author of The Moldovans: Romania, Russia, and the Politics of Culture This book is recommended for those who are interested in transnational, feminist and queer studies, identity politics, and subject formation as well as for those interested specifically in post-communist studies, particularly Romanian...An enjoyable read, Roman's book interweaves her theorizations with vivid descriptions and colorful anecdotes to make the tensions, negotiations, and struggles for identity visceral for the reader and thought-provoking for a wide audience. -- Margareta Amy Lelea Women's Studies International Forum The subsequent chapters, dedicated in turn to each of these topics, provide useful, theoretically informed, and, largely accurate accounts of the empirical reality a flaneur, or flaneuse, might encounter. International Feminist Journal of Politics, September 2008 A good introduction to aspects of postcommunist culture in Romania... The author, both an insider (as a native of Bucharest) and an outsider (as an American academic) has a special perspective...that gives her special insight into not only Romanian culture, but also Western European and American academic practices vis-a-vis Eastern European issues, especially the gender problematic. -- Oana Popescu-Sandu Slavic and East European Journal Denise Roman's fine book should be read as a kind of 'flanerie', expressing the feel of everyday personal life in post-1989 Romania, but it also displays solid methodological reflection and scholarly culture. The way in which it moves between these two dimensions, between theory and lived experience, is what gives the study its special charm-even for a non-specialist reader. Denise Roman places post-1989 Romania on view for us, a society taken apart, a society resisting without any object of resistance, attached to a golden age without a golden age that can be located anywhere, clinging to a dream of the West while at the same time rejecting that West. Romania experiences itself as ringed with shadows: there is the figure of the Jew who embodies Evil, the Other as Evil. Women are lost between the imagined calm of a return to the home and a militant feminism of the Anglo-American kind. These women speak a great deal through the author's pen: they speak humor, self-hatred, a need to leave-to leave for somewhere else. They are real women, and the author has been able to hear what they say from within their private lives. Denise Roman's extreme talent is what is needed to infuse knowledge with feeling, as she puts her heart into studying the course of a country with seemingly no clearly defined plans for the future, carried along by a hybrid identity. This book is an indispensable means of illuminating the complex tensions of a Romanian identity driven both to banalize and to reject integration. The author has been able to set before us the East European combination of dynamism and conservatism: she is the guide who walks with serious mien and poses questions, at the bends in the road. -- Catherine Durandin, The National Institute of Oriental Languages and Literatures, Parisshow more

About Denise Roman

Denise Roman is a visiting scholar with the UCLA Center for the Study of Women.show more

Table of contents

Part 1 Everyday Life Chapter 2 A Flaneur through Bucharest at the End of the Twentieth Century Chapter 3 Discourses, Identities, and Practices of Everyday Life Part 4 Popular Culture Chapter 5 Aesthetics and Politics: From "Socialist Realism" to "Postcommunist Carnivalesque" Chapter 6 "Blue Jeans Generation" and "Generation PRO": Youth, Pop Culture, and Politics Chapter 7 Popular Culture and the Discourse of Hate: The Case of Anti-Semitism Part 8 Gender and Sexuality Chapter 9 The Postcommunist Feminine Mystique: Women as Subjects, Women and Politics Chapter 10 Between Ars Erotica and Scientia Sexualis: Queer Subjectivity and the Discourse of Sexshow more

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