38th Linz Conference: Sexuality, the Working Classes and Labour Movements

12-15 September 2002, Linz


Conference Report: 38th Linz Conference of the ITH

The public announcement of this year’s Linz Conference and the invitation for presenters in the form of a Call for Papers resulted in a broad range of academic disciplines and scholarly approaches, in addition to the internationality usual at the ITH conferences. The papers received illustrate the wide range of scholarly research on the topic of sexuality and the lower classes, not only in research topics but also in methodological approaches. During the two days of the conference, scholars from twelve countries and from various disciplines such as history, anthropology, sociology, human geography or legal philosophy, presented their research results and in so doing conveyed an impression of the current state of sexual research and historical writing.

The first of a total of seven panels arranged according to content focus which was titled “Concepts” delivered a theoretical basis for the explanations that followed by providing an examination of sexual identities in combination with queer theory (Elisabeth Holzleithner, Austria) as well as a convergence between Marxist theory and modern concepts of sexuality and sexual identity (Paul Reynolds, United Kingdom).

The second panel occupied itself with the organized “Workers’ Movement and Sexuality.” June Hannam and Karen Hunt (United Kingdom) clarified the positions of British Socialists to sexual politics in the 1920’s. David Berry (United Kingdom) portrayed the French political activist Daniel Guérin, who made analogies between the oppression of the working class, Afro-Americans, colonized peoples and the discrimination of homosexuals.

A further block of topics covered “sexual education” in the form of advising centres in the first half of the 20th century (Stephen Bajohr, Germany). Lena Lennerhed (Sweden) worked out the interconnectivity of sexuality within the discourse of hygiene and medicine and in the context of sexual reforms in Sweden. A central point was the question of the relationship of bourgeois moral conceptions to the workers’ movement as Britta McEwen (USA) showed in a study of the sexual education of children in Red Vienna. Elisabeth Perry (USA) thematicised the border between the protection and control of working class girls through bourgeois social reformers on the example of American dance halls at the beginning of the 20th century.

In the panel about “Generativity” and Reproduction, the discussion was about economic pressures and population policy questions, the most important factors in the sexuality discourse of and about the lower classes. Anelia Kassabova-Dintcheva (Bulgaria) analysed “Generativity” in Bulgaria as an institutional discourse in the field of conflict between political measures and social processes. One paper shed light upon the perspective in films at the time of the Weimar Republic, in which abortion was brought into the connex between personal tragedy and degradation, and in which the complex experiences of women who were confronted with the decision of having to have an abortion was cut out (Cornelie Usborne, United Kingdom). The influence of bourgeois values in relationship to contraception was discussed in detail by Jutta Schwarzkopf (Deutschland) in a paper about cotton weavers in Lancashire at the end of the 19th century.

The second day began with the fifth panel about “Sexuality and the Work World” where sexual relationships were discussed with regard to hierarchical positions in the workplace on the basis of two concrete examples from China and the United States (Minjie Zhang, China und Stephen Meyer, USA). A broad temporal and comprehensive content curve from the 19th to the 20th was spanned by Anne-Marie Sohn (France) about the sexual history of the milieux populaires in France. Joan Isabel Sangster (Canada) made analogies to the racist tendencies of sexual control in colonial context for the Canadian lower classes in a comparison of aboriginal and working class girls. A further topic area covered the knowledge about sexuality, contaception, and venereal disease of jute workers in India (Raja Chakraborti, India).

In the panel about “Marginalised Sexualities” the content was, on the one hand, the contradictions between the representation of queer ways of life and the workforce such as, for example, the paper by Jon Binnie und Beverly Skeggs (United Kingdom) about the gay district in Manchester and on the other hand, the thematisation of prostitution under the historical conditions of (post-) colonialism. P. Swarnalatha (India) illustrated the literary discourse over the two century transformation of the dancing girls from mistresses to despised prostitutes in Andrah, India. Mustafa Abdel Rahman (Egypt) examined the sexual relationships of young Egyptian men to female foreign tourists from the perspective of colonialism, globalisation and male-female relationships. In the discussion which followed, and which was continued after the seventh panel, the necessity of casting off the one-sided view of prostitutes as victims of societal conditions in order to arrive at a more differentiated analysis of the main protagonists involved was confirmed.

The last panel of this conference titled “Revolution and Sexuality” included five papers about countries in which a new ordering of society brought about a change in sexual norms. Lubov Kusnetsova (Russia) and Berthold Unfried (Austria) spoke about sexuality and politics in Russia in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Ruth Gutermann (Austria) delivered a discourse analysis of the sexuality debate in anarchist periodicals in Spain. Narges Erami (USA) dealt with the introduction of the Islamic temporary marriage in the course of sexual legislation in Iran after the 1979 Revolution. Jafari Sinclaire Allen (USA) thematicised male sexualities in Cuba. The comparison of societies with Socialist and Islamic Revolutions, despite all of their differences, makes clear the mechanisms with which sexuality can be instrumentalised in order to exercise power. Among other things, it was shown that the discourse about sexuality always means a claim to power by those speaking and that speaking about sexuality in historical transformations can be interpreted as a revolutionary act.

The contributions presented illustrated in their totality the stretching of the bordaries and differences in the scholarly confrontation with sexuality. The academic view of sexuality is predominately problem-oriented, and an analysis of the power structures inherent in gender, race and sexuality appears to avoid positive connotations. In the negative aspect concentrated approach, one conference participant believed she had found a commonality with the history of the workers’ movement. Nevertheless, the approaches of queer theory have crystallised into a way out of a standardised and control-directed perspective of the history of sexuality. Not least, queer studies is of great importance because of its inherent subversive potential. The deconstruction of dichotomous sexual identities makes it possible to look at the individual ability for action of those involved and to be able to write a “history from below” in a positive and subject-oriented manner.


organized by International Conference of Labour and Social History and Chamber of Labour of Upper Austria
kindly supported by Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, Provincial Government of Upper Austria, City of Linz, Austrian Federation of Trade Unions, Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation Bonn

Univ.-Doz. Dr. Paul Pasteur, CERA, Université de Haute Normandie, Rouen

Mag. Sonja Niederacher, Stiftung Bruno Kreisky Archiv, Rechte Wienzeile 97, A-1050 Vienna, e-mail: niederacher[a]kreisky.org
together with: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Gabriella Hauch (Linz), Prof. Dr. Jürgen Hofmann (Berlin), Dr. Maria Mesner (Vienna), Dr. Antoaneta Tcholakova (Vienna)

Christine Schindler, ITH, Wipplinger Str. 8, A-1010 Vienna, e-mail: christine.schindler[a]doew.at, Tel. 0043 699 1158 7464 or 0043 1 534 36 90 329



Thursday, September 12, 2002

9:00 am to 10:00 pm: Registration of participants at AK-Bildungsheim Jägermayrhof, Linz/Upper Austria
2:00 pm to 3:30 pm: Meeting of the Executive Committee and the Advisory Board
3:45 pm to 6:30 pm: General Assembly of the Representatives of the Member Institutes of ITH

7:00 pm: Conference Opening
Welcome of the participants (Prof. Gabriella Hauch, ITH President)
Obituary to Prof. Étienne-Richard Mbaya, ITH Vice president, who died in Kinshasa in October 2001 (Winfried R. Garscha)
Welcome by representatives of
– the University of Linz (Prof. Herbert Kalb, Vice Rector of Johannes Kepler University Linz),
– the City of Linz (Elfriede Kiesewetter, member of the municipal council)
– Chamber of Labour of Upper Austria / Conference Centre “Jägermayrhof” (Erwin Kaiser)
The reception was hosted by the Mayor of Linz

Friday, September 13, 2002

9:00 am:
Concepts (Chair: Paul Pasteur)
Paul Reynolds (Great Britain), Marxism and the Social Construction of Sexuality: Towards a Reapproachment
Elisabeth Holzleithner (Austria), „Sex” in queer times: Körper, Praktiken und Identitäten

Sexuality and Labour movements (Chair: Paul Pasteur)
Karen Hunt / June Hannam (Great Britain), British socialist women and sexual politics in the 1920s
David Berry (Great Britain), „Le feu du sang (Fire in the blood). Daniel Guérin, the working class homosexuality”

12:00 am: Reception by the Provincial Governor of Upper Austria, Dr. Josef Pühringer, at the Youth Hostel of Linz

1:30 pm
Sexual counselling (Chair: Maria Mesner)
Stefan Bajohr (Germany), Sexualaufklärung im Arbeitermilieu, Geschlechtskrankheiten und staatliche Eheberatung im ersten Drittel des 20. Jahrhunderts. Überlegungen aufgrund einer Fallstudie im Herzogtum/Freistaat Braunschweig unter Verwendung mündlicher Quellen aus den Geburtsjahrgängen 1890-1914
Britta McEwen (USA), Teach your children well: Debates over childrens’s sexual education in Red Vienna
Lena Lennerhed (Sweden), Sex Reform in Sweden. RFSU, the Swedish Association for Sex Education, in the 1930’s and 1940’s
Elisabeth Perry (USA), The Progressive-Era Dance Hall Reform Movement in the US: To Control or Protect Working-Class Girls?

Reproductivity (Chair: Antoaneta Tcholakova)
Cornelie Usborne (Great Britain), Representation of abortion in popular culture in Weimar Germany
Jutta Schwarzkopf (Germany), Generatives Regime, Sozialmilieu und Sozialismus bei den BaumwollweberInnen von Lancashire
Anelia Kassabova-Dintcheva (Bulgaria), Der Diskurs über die Reproduktion im sozialistischen Bulgarien- Eingriff und Realitätsverleugnung

Saturday, September 14, 2002

9:00 am:
Sexuality and the work place (Chair: Jürgen Hofmann)
Anne Marie Sohn (France), La sexualité des milieux populaires en France (XIX-XXèmes siècles)
Stephen Meyer (USA), Sex and Sexuality on the Shop Floor: U.S. Auto Factories, 1930-1960
Raja Chakraborti (India), Knowledge, Attitude and Practice (KAP) study of the Jute workers in West Bengal, India
Joan Isabel Sangster (Canada), Putting Sex in context: a materialist-feminist analysis of the sexual regulation of Aboriginal and working-class girls in mid-twentieth century Canada
Minjie Zhang (China), Sexual Harassment in Work. Environment and Sexual Policies within People’s Republic of China

Marginalized Sexuality (Chair: Gabriella Hauch)
Jon Binnie / Beverly Skeggs (Great Britain), Class, Sexuality and the Politics of Transnationalism
Mustafa Abdel Rahman (Egypt), Social Construction of Sexuality, Risk and Reproductive Health amongst Young Men in Dahab
P. Swarnalatha (India), The Refashioning of Sexuality in a Colonial Society: „Dancing Girls” and Social Transformation in Colonial Andhra

2:00 pm:
Sexuality and Revolution (Chair: Sonja Niederacher)
Ljubov Kuznetsova (Russia), Sexualpolitik in Russland in den 20er Jahren des 20. Jahrhunderts
Berthold Unfried (Austria), Sexualität im Diskurs von „Kritik und Selbstkritik” in der Sowjetunion der 30er Jahre
Ruth Gutermann (Austria), Frauen und die Sexualitätsdebatte in anarchistischen Zeitschriften der 20er und 30er Jahre in Spanien
Narges Erami (USA), Economics of Pleasure and Laws of Desire: Temporary Marriage in Post-Revolutionary Iran
Jafari Sinclaire Allen (USA), Unruly Black Bodies: Power, Culture, Ideology, And the Making of Afro Cuban Male Sexualities

Sunday, September 15, 2002

Departure of the participants after breakfast

Time for the speakers: 20 minutes maximum.
Breaks within the sessions will be decided by the respective chairpersons.


Paul Reynolds, CSSS and Social Movements Research Group, Edge Hill College, Ormskirk, United Kingdom
Marxism and the Social Construction of Sexuality: Towards a Reapproachment

Edge (1995) typifies the response of most thinkers on sexuality to Marxism:
[…] the Marxist tradition has no more influence on the modern lesbian and gay movement than it deserves. Gay Marxists who are encouraged by their straight comrades and leaders to shun the very real gains won since the GLF by an autonomous lesbian and gay movement are being seduced into an essentially heterosexist project where gay issues are sidelined.
Much of the best and most critical contemporary theorising of sexuality has come from thinkers like Plummer (micro-sociological perspectives), Foucault (post-structuralist perspectives) or Seidman (Queer perspectives) amongst others. Whilst contemporary critics such as D‘Emilio, Evans and Field have represented Marxist concerns in their writings about sexuality, they have not developed a coherent theorisation of the relationship between class, sexuality and Marxist theory. This is not surprising. Marx said virtually nothing about sexuality. Marxists from Engels to Kollontai theorised sexuality in contradiction with class imperatives. From Reich to Fromm and Marcuse, Marxists entangled sexuality and Freud with critical thinking to produce unevenly eccentric (Reich) to energised conceptions of the libidinous nature of revolutionary thought and politics, but this became troubled by issues of sexual identity and diversity.
This paper seeks to explore how Marxist theory can respond to contemporary theories of sexuality – particularly social constructionist and queer – and begins to develop a materialist conceptual agenda upon which Marxists can develop a politics of sexuality. Four criteria are particularly critical – sexual identities and space as constructed within culture, consumption, commodification and class; the materiality of desire and the body, particularly in the construction of sensuousness in the context of property, ownership, power and labour; the discursive construction of sexuality and critical conceptions of sexual aesthetics and discourse ethics in reconstructing sexual subjects in social context; and the hegemonic construction of sexual oppression, liberation and transformation.
This paper is a draft of the contemporary theoretical chapter of a larger project charting the contribution of Marxism to studies in sexuality.

Elisabeth Holzleithner, Institut für Rechtsphilosophie und Rechtstheorie, Universität Wien
„Sex” in queer times: Körper, Praktiken und Identitäten

Queer Theory hat in den vergangenen Jahren die gängigen Vorstellungen von Körper(praktiken) und Identitäten gehörig durcheinander gewirbelt und sich zu einer permanenten Unruhestifterin in Theorie und (politischer) Praxis entwickelt. Queers – Lesben, Schwule, Bisexuelle, TransGenders, Intersexuelle u.a. – wenden sich gegen diskriminierende Institutionen und normalisierende Zuschreibungen, welche nicht nur vom heterosexuellen Mainstream, sondern auch innerhalb der einzelnen Gruppen an sie heran getragen werden. Somit geht es im Wesentlichen um den Versuch einer nicht-diskriminierenden Neubeschreibung und Neuformierung von sexuellen und geschlechtlichen Identitäten, die einerseits als kontingent und instabil, andererseits als existentiell wahrgenommen werden. Der ausgesprochene Pluralismus der Queer Theory hat ihr im Gegenzug den Vorwurf der Beliebigkeit eingetragen; das Bestehen auf der konstitutiven Bedeutung der „Darstellung” von Körperpraktiken für Identitäten wird als postmoderne Verspieltheit kritisiert, die sich des Ernstes der Lage sexueller Minoritäten in einem Regime rechtlicher und sozialer Diskriminierungen nicht hinreichend bewusst sei. Der Vortrag möchte sich diesen Themen widmen und queer als Begriff verwenden, anlässlich dessen die Bedeutungen von Körpern und Identitäten verhandelt und politisiert werden können.

Karen Hunt, Manchester Metropolitan University / June Hannam, Department of History and Economic History University of the West of England, St Matthias campus, Bristol
British socialist women and sexual politics in the 1920s

From the late nineteenth century onwards socialist women challenged the conventional separation made between public and private life and sought to make socialism more sensitive to gender inequalities. During the 1920s a key site in which they contested the conventional wisdom that ‚personal‘ questions were marginal for socialists was the campaign for free birth control information to be provided by local authority clinics. The details of the campaign itself are well known, in particular the obstacles women faced from within the Labour Party. Far less attention has been given, however, to the ideas of women from the socialist group, the Independent Labour Party (ILP), who spearheaded the campaign. When these ideas are discussed it is assumed that the emphasis was on ‚class justice‘, the abolition of poverty and the saving of working women‘s lives. It is suggested here that this interpretation stems from a reliance on Labour Party conference reports and official newspapers such as Labour Woman. If a wider range of sources is used, including selected local socialist newspapers, journals of the birth control movement, ILP conference reports and personal testimony of women campaigners, a more complex picture emerges in which the views of both working-class and middle-class socialist women can be explored. It will be argued in this paper that socialist women saw birth control as an aspect of women‘s sexual self determination, rather than just as a class issue. In challenging the views of those such as Marion Phillips, chief woman officer of the Labour Party, that ‘sex should be kept out of politics’, they sought to re-define the nature of socialism itself. Birth control, therefore, raised in an acute form the extent to which personal issues, in particular the relationship between men and women, and between emancipation and sexual pleasure, should be seen as political questions which were central, rather than peripheral, to the socialist project.

David Berry, Loughborough University, United Kingdom
‚Le Feu du sang (Fire in the blood). Daniel Guérin, the working class and homosexuality.‘

Daniel Guérin (1904-88) was a unique and pioneering figure on the French Left, both as an activist and a writer. Born into the liberal ‚grande bourgeoisie‘, he rejected his own class to com-mit himself to cause of the working class. Active in many fields, he made theoretical contributions in the interpretation of fascism, the historiography of the French Revolution, colonialism, sexuality and ‚gay lib‘, the critique of leninism and the synthesis of marxism and libertarianism. Guérin was often ahead of his time and tackled subjects which have kept their contemporary relevance. He was also an incisive intellect and respected as such by figures such as Trotsky and Sartre.
After having been obliged to hide his homosexuality for many years from his labour movement comrades, Guérin began to campaign openly against the repression of homosexuality in the 1950s, and would later combine this with his revolutionary politics in the ‚Front Homosexuel d‘Action Révolutionnaire‘. The oppression of gays was in Guérin‘s eyes akin to the oppression of the working class, of blacks in the USA and of the colonized peoples: the only solution to all these forms of oppression was ‚an anti-authoritarian revolution‘.
In Guérin‘s personal life, there was a close link between his discovery of his homosexuality and his discovery of the young proletarian males of 1920s Paris, between his attraction to socialism and his attraction to young, working-class men – both in France and, later, in the colonies. This paper proposes to examine this leitmotif in Guérin‘s life in an attempt to understand why he came to espouse the cause of the working class; and how his understanding of ‚permanent revolution‘ informed his approach both to the struggle against colonialism and racism and against homophobia. The paper will draw on Guérin‘s autobiographies and other published works; on the very few secondary publications on Guérin; and on Guérin‘s personal archives in the Bibliothèque de documentation internationale (Nanterre).

Stefan Bajohr, Institut für Sozialwissenschaften, Abt. f. Politikwissenschaft, Heinrich-Heine-Univertsität, Düsseldorf
Sexualaufklärung im Arbeitermilieu, Geschlechtskrankheiten und staatliche Eheberatung im ersten Drittel des 20. Jahrhunderts: Überlegungen aufgrund einer Fallstudie im Herzogtum/Freistaat Braunschweig unter Verwendung mündlicher Quellen aus den Geburtsjahrgängen 1890-1914

Der Beengtheit des Arbeiterfamilienwohnens wurde von den Zeitgenossinnen und Zeitgenossen angelastet, eine „Ungeniertheit der Eltern” zu begünstigen, so dass den Kindern „wenig verborgen” bleibe. Dies zu unterbinden, richteten Familien im braunschweigischen Arbeitermilieu kaum überwindbare „Schambarrieren” auf. Zärtlichkeiten der Eltern untereinander kamen selten vor; körperliche Kontakte mit den Kindern beschränkten sich auf das unumgängliche Minimum. Die Kinder sahen und hörten zwar manches; es unterlag aber einer ‘Schweigepflicht’.
An die Stelle von Elternhäusern und Schulen (deren Lehrkräfte ebenfalls schwiegen) traten mit und nach dem I. Weltkrieg die proletarischen Jugendorganisationen, denen die Sexualaufklärung als „einer der wichtigsten Punkte im Erziehungs- und Bildungsprogramm” galt. Wie die Eltern, so versuchten aber auch sie, die Jugendlichen möglichst lange von sexuellen Erfahrungen fern zu halten. Der Grund hierfür sollte indes nicht überwiegend in Sexualfeindlichkeit oder proletarischer Prüderie gesucht werden. Mehr noch als heutzutage die Furcht vor AIDS überschattete die damalige Gesellschaft die Angst vor der Ansteckung mit Geschlechtskrankheiten, die bis zur Verfügbarkeit des Penicillins schreckeneinflößend blieben. Aufklärung im Arbeitermilieu war daher stets mit dem Hinweis auf gesundheitliche Gefahren verbunden – ohne dass den Jugendlichen etwas über Liebe, Erotik und die Möglichkeiten des Schutzes vor Ansteckung gesagt worden wäre. In Braunschweig waren Geschlechtskrankheiten im Arbeitermilieu nicht selten und sie breiteten mit dem I. Weltkrieg aus. Das hohe Interesse an diesem Thema belegen die Zahlen der BesucherInnen von Ausstellungen über venerische Erkrankungen.
Zum Schutz vor deren Folgen wurden in Braunschweig Eheberatungsstellen eingerichtet, in denen Verlobte über erbgesundheitliche Fragen beraten werden sollten, die „für die Ehe und die Nachkommenschaft von Bedeutung sind”. Hieran zeigte die Bevölkerung nahezu kein Interesse, obwohl die Werbung dafür massiv war. Während im benachbarten Hannover eine entsprechende Stelle ihr Aufgabenspektrum um Sexualberatung erweiterte, wurde dies in Braunschweig vehement bekämpft. Statt zuverlässiger Auskunft in Sexualangelegenheiten blieb das braunschweigische Proletariat auf den Postversand von Aufklärungsliteratur zweifelhaften Ursprungs und Werts angewiesen, für den in der sozialistischen Presse eifrig geworben wurde.

Britta McEwen, University of California, Los Angeles
„Teach Your Children Well: Debates over children‘s sexual education in Red Vienna”

My paper explores socialist efforts to reshape the sexual culture of Interwar Vienna by changing the ways in which children were informed about sex. The debate over when, how, and from whom children should receive sexual knowledge in Austria predates the first Republic. However, with the increasing cultural power of the Social Democratic party in Vienna during the 1920’s, the question of „what to tell the kids” took on new political meanings. The challenge of children‘s sexual education prompted the Catholic Church in Austria to reembroider upon familiar themes of purity and heavenly love, and likewise forced Socialist reformers to define a code of ethics without original sin, creating a discourse of responsibility and sublimation that were to extend into the working classes‘ intimate lives. The question of sexual education also served as an introduction of outside forces into the family realm, as both Social Democratic and Catholic groups inserted their authority into the home. The result of this collective concern was a wide range of popular and educational publications about sexual Aufklärung (literally, „enlightenment”) for children. These articles, pamphlets, books, and lecture notes form the backbone of my paper. Using them, I will show that the question of sexual education formed a cornerstone, for both reformers and traditionalists, of the construction of a child’s view of their gender role and thus their role in society. These competing visions of how the neue Menschen of the first Republic would love, procreate, and replenish the nation are ever present in my sources, just visible behind the sometimes romantic, sometimes scientific presentations of concerned socialists, priests, parents, and teachers.

Lena Lennerhed, Södertörn University College, Huddinge, Sweden
Sex Reform in Sweden. RFSU, the Swedish Association for Sex Education , in the 1930´s and 1940´s

RFSU, Riksförbundet för sexuell upplysning, was founded in 1933 by Elise Ottesen-Jensen, sex educator and journalist in the syndicalist press, a group of socialist doctors and representatives from the labor movement. During the first years, RFSU started a clinic, a company that produced and sold contraceptives, a laboratory for pregnancy tests, a home for unwed mothers, sold sex advice litterature and published the paper Sexualfrågan („the Sexual Issue”). Local branches of RFSU were founded all over the country.
In its program from 1934, RFSU demanded introduction of sex education in schools, the set up of clinics all over Sweden, abolition of the contraceptive law ( information about contraceptives was forbidden) and free contraceptives for the poor, the right to abortion and sterilisation on medical, eugenic and social grounds, and decriminalisation of homosexual contacts.
In the paper, RFSU´s view on contraceptives, abortion and sterilisations will be discussed, related to the intense debate at the time and to the official policy. It will be shown that the policy of RFSU changed, parallel to a professionalisation of the organisation. A political perspective on sexual issues, which included a will to change society, was to a large extent replaced by a medical and psychological perspective that focused on the individual and his or her ability to adjust within society.
The paper will also highlight Max Hodann´s work at RFSU as a refugee in Sweden, as well as Ottesen-Jensen´s contacts with Rudolf (Edward) Elkan.

Elisabeth Perry, John Francis Bannon Professor of History, Interim Director of Women’s Studies, Saint Louis University
The Progressive-Era Dance Hall Reform Movement in the United States: To Control or Protect Working-Class Girls?

American dance halls were highly popular places of amusement for working classes at the turn of the 20th century. Urban youth, who had migrated to the cities to take up factory, sales, or clerical work, found them especially attractive. Admission was cheap and they were easily accessible. They also offered numerous possibilities for meeting the opposite sex.
The sexual liaisons that resulted from dance hall contacts did not always turn out well. According to social workers, Stephen Crane’s fictional „Maggie of the Streets,” who got into „bad company” at a saloon-dance hall and ended up a suicide, was a common tale of the times. Most dance halls were commercial enterprises. Beyond maintaining order, their managers were uninterested in propriety. They offered alcoholic drinks to thirsty patrons without distinguishing among those who were underage or already drunk.
In the early 1900s, social reformers – primarily middle class settlement and community workers – became sufficiently concerned about the „dance hall problem” to attempt to bring middle-class standards of social chaperonage and proper social decorum into commercial amusements. The social workers knew the importance of recreation to working-class life. They had no intention of abolishing dance halls; they planned only to clean them up. They took a two-pronged approach. First, they looked to government to regulate dance halls through fire and safety codes and liquor laws. Second, they created „intentional” dance halls, venues which made available social chaperonage (in the form of „friendly” adult supervision), non-alcoholic beverages, and „proper” music and dancing styles (as opposed to the ragtime, jazz, and tango dance styles then „all the rage”).
My paper reviews the movement’s major features and assesses its impact. It asks: how did dance hall reformers construct working-class sexuality? Was their reform movement more about protection or control? To what extent did their concerns about working girls’ sexuality reflect worries about changing sexual mores in their own social class? What inter-class tensions did the reform create?

Cornelie Usborne, Reader in European History, University of Surrey Roehampton
Representation of abortion in popular culture in Weimar Germany

This paper is part of a larger project on Cultures of Abortion in Weimar Germany – the view from below.
It will discuss the ambiguous messages conveyed about abortion on screen, stage and in novels. Especially socialist writers and artists constructed the image of the dejected proletarian woman burdened with an unwanted pregnancy and risking goal, injury or even death through a back-street abortion. Examples include novels like Rudolf Braune’s Das Mädchen an der Orga Privat (1925), the play Cyankali by Friedrich Wolf which caused a sensation when it was premiered in 1929 in Berlin and on its subsequent tour through Germany and finally when it was made into a film in 1930. This is the case also with films which have only recently been rediscovered such as Madame Lu, Die Frau für diskrete Beratung (1929) by Franz Hofer. Others portrayed the female body as an icon of modernity representing women’s new sexual freedom and reproductive self-determinism. This is the case for example in left-leaning films like Kuhle Wampe based on the script by Bertold Brecht and but also in novels by women writers such as Vicky Baum’s stud.chem Helene Willführ, Irmgard Keun’s, Gilgi – eine von uns where the New Woman achieves independence even after she failed to obtain the abortion she originally sought. Yet, there is a subtext which most popular representation of abortion share: the experience of abortion is nearly always portrayed as a tragedy and so-called quack abortionists as back-street operators who exploit, degrade and endanger women. Yet, the testimonies of many working-class women in abortion court cases throughout the Weimar years tells a more complex story: It is true, women themselves often associated abortion with danger (to their health), fear (of detection), embarrassment (having to find an abortionist) and possible isolation (from family and friends). Yet, within the female working-class culture the meaning of abortion could range from a fairly routine event to a positive experience, the delivery from an unwanted pregnancy when the abortionist not appear as a villain but rather as a helpmeet.

Jutta Schwarzkopf, Historisches Seminar, Universität Hannover
Generatives Regime, Sozialmilieu und Sozialismus bei den BaumwollweberInnen von Lancashire

Dieser Vortrag zeigt, wie in einem branchenspezifischen proletarischen Milieu das herausgebildete generative Regime in Verbindung mit sozialistischen Ideen des ausgehenden 19. Jahrhunderts eine positive Einstellung zu Verhütung sowie die Möglichkeit ihrer Praktizierung schuf.
In Großbritannien gehörten die BaumwollweberInnen von Lancashire zu den PionierInnen der Geburtenregelung im Proletariat. Diese Gruppe praktizierte ein generatives Regime, unter dem der Zeitpunkt von Geburten in die Erfordernisse der Familienökonomie eingefügt wurden, die in jedem Stadium des Armutszyklus auf mehr als einem Lohneinkommen beruhte. Das für proletarische Verhältnisse ungewöhnlich egalitäre Einkommensniveau von Mann und Frau bildete die Grundlage einer gemeinsam gefällten Entscheidung zur Geburtenregelung, die wesentlich auf männlicher Kooperation und einem hohen Maß an Selbstkontrolle in der sexuellen Praxis beruhte. Die ‘Kultur der Abstinenz’ von BaumwollweberInnen erwuchs aus einer unterbürgerlichen Tradition der Wertschätzung von Selbstdisziplin und rationalem Verhalten. Dieses generative Regime mit seiner spezifischen Auffassung von elterlicher Fürsorge und den Kosten der Kinderaufzucht war charakteristisch für ein Sozialmilieu, das von der industriellen Monostruktur der Webereistädte mit ihrer massenhaften Beschäftigung von Männern, Frauen und Kindern in dieser Branche geprägt war. Zu einer Zeit, als Verhütung aus bevölkerungspolitisch, religiös oder feministisch motivierten Erwägungen hochgradig stigmatisiert war und mit einer bestimmten Auffassung von proletarischer Männlichkeit kollidierte, boten einige sozialistisch ausgerichtete Organisationen zumindest die Möglichkeit der Diskussion dieser Frage. Aufgrund des von ihnen praktizierten generativen Regimes waren BaumwollweberInnen für eine positive Sichtweise von Verhütung besonders empfänglich, so daß sich vor allem bei politisch engagierten Paaren eine Ausrichtung des generativen Verhaltens auf eine ideale Familiengröße – in der Regel die Ein-Kind-Familie – feststellen läßt.

Anelia Kassabova-Dintcheva, Bulgarische Akademie der Wissenschaften
Der Diskurs über die Reproduktion in sozialistischen Bulgarien – Eingriff und Realitätsverleugnung

Die Untersuchung ist ein Versuch zur Analyse des realsozialistischen Diskurses über die Reproduktion in Rahmen der kommunistischen Familienideologie und -politik.
Die Reproduktionspolitik eines jeden Nationalstaates ist in der breiten Identitäetspolitik eingebunden, die Art, wie die verschiedenen Gesellschaften an dieser gravierenden Frage herangehen, zeigt die Problematik Gesellschaft-Individuum, öffentlich-privat.
Am Beispiel Bulgariens möchte ich die Wirkungsmittel des Diskurses über die Reproduktion in der Periode 1944-1989, insbesondere die Kollektivsymbolik, die zur Vernetzung verschiedener Diskursstränge (ökonomischen, nationalen u.a.), beiträgt, und insgesamt die Funktionen dieses Diskurses als herrschaftslegitimierende und -sichernde Techniken, zur Diskussion stellen.
Einerseits wird der Versuch gemacht die Widersprüche und die Instrumentalisierung der „Frauenfrage” im Rahmen der kommunistischen Ideologie aufzuzeigen, die Grenzen des Sagbaren zu markieren und die Strategien, mit denen das Feld des Sagbaren erweitert oder eingeengt wird (z.B. Verleugnungs-, Relativierungs-, Tabuisierungs-, bzw. Enttabuisierungsstrategien etc.), herauszuarbeiten.
Zugleich übt dieser Diskurs Machtwirkung aus, weil er institutionalisiert ist. So geht es mir darum, das Netz von Institutionen, reglementierenden Entscheidungen, Gesetzen, administrativen Maßnahmen, wissenschaftlichen Aussagen über Reproduktion, Empfängnisverhütung, Abtreibung in Rahmen der Familien- und Frauenpolitik in ihrer Entwicklung aufzuzeigen.
Das ist eng mit dem Problem des Widerspruches zu der sozioökonomischen Entwicklung (rasche Urbanisierung, Industrialisierung, gesellschaftliche Modernisierung) verbunden. Die Spezifik des Spannungsfeldes zwischen sozialen Prozesse und Alltagspraxis einerseits und die politischen Maßnahmen und ideologischen Konstrukte andererseits geht es nachzugehen. Aus diesem Zusammenspiel läßt sich die Dynamik der Entwicklung des Diskurses über die Reproduktion, die Funktionsveränderungen und Akzentverschiebungen erklären.
Die Problematik ist umso komplexer, da man den realsozialistischen Familien- und Reproduktionsdiskurs erst im Rahmen eines (selbstverständlich überaus heterogenen) globalen Diskurses verstehen kann, in dessen Rahmen die Polarisierung „Ost” vs. „West” eine entscheidende Rolle spielt.
Gegenwärtig gewinnt die Problematik über die Familien-, Frauen-, Reproduktionspolitik im Sozialismus erhöhte Bedeutung – wegen der notwendigen Auseinandersetzung mit dem Sozialismus, mit derer Untersuchung vor der 89-Wende zahlreiche Einschränkungen verbunden waren.
Zugleich hat in Rahmen des „Weltdiskurses” – mit aller Vorsicht gesagt – der Zusammenbruch des sozialistischen Systems, verbunden mit der Einwanderungs- und Flüchtlingsproblematik in einer Reihe westeuropäischer Staaten und die EU-Osterweiterung, zu einer Aktivierung der „Patriarchalismus-„, „Familientypen-„ und „Modernisierungs”-Debatten insgesamt und konkret über den „Balkan” geführt.

Anne-Marie Sohn, Université de Haute Normandie, Rouen, France
La sexualité des milieux populaires en France (XIX-XXèmes siècles) : représentations et pratiques

Cette communication portera sur la France entre 1850 et 1970. Le choix de la longue durée s’impose en raison des évolutions, longtemps souterraines donc sous-estimées, qui ont à terme bouleversé les comportements sexuels.
Il convient donc tout d’abord de dessiner le cadre général dans lequel s’inscrit la vie privée des milieux populaires. Cette période voit, en effet, une remise en cause des usages anciens : la parole se libère, les relations sexuelles hors mariage se développent, les pratiques contraceptives se généralisent, la condamnation des violences sexuelles, en particulier à l’encontre des enfants, s’amplifie. C’est à l’aune de ces évolutions qu’il convient d’analyser la spécificité des milieux populaires. Je m’attacherai principalement aux ouvriers mais s’agrègent également à ce groupe les artisans et les petits commerçants urbains sans oublier le sous-prolétariat des petits métiers et de la marginalité au comportement souvent atypique.
J’insisterai tout d’abord sur les normes et la morale en vigueur. J’évoquerai en particulier la conception qu’ont les ouvriers de la pudeur et de la décence et, de là, leurs idées en matière d’éducation sexuelle. Puis j’examinerai la tolérance des milieux populaires pour les relations prénuptiales, le concubinage, l’adultère ainsi que leur pratique naturelle et totalement déculpabilisée de la limitation des naissances et de l’avortement. Cette tolérance qui n’hésite pas à s’afficher et à se dire, fait des ouvriers une exception dans une société où discours et pratiques ne coïncident pas avant les années 1960, où la libéralisation des mœurs s’accompagne longtemps de discours convenus et moralisateurs.
En dernier lieu, je soulignerai, fût-ce plus brièvement, le décalage croissant à partir de l’entre-deux-guerres entre dirigeants du mouvement ouvrier et ouvriers de base, les militants épris de respectabilité dans une France hantée par la dépopulation, craignant de discréditer leurs partis par des prises de position libérales en matière de sexualité.

Stephen Meyer, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin-Parkside, Kenosha, USA
Sex and Sexuality on the Shop Floor: U.S. Auto Factories, 1930-1960

In the Chrysler Tank Arsenal plant during World War II, a factory „janitress” encountered two supervisors and two women workers while she was cleaning the basement of the administration building. After greeting the first couple near the water fountain, she attempted to go through a door and met with considerable resistance from the other side. She eventually pushed it open and encountered the other couple. As for the second supervisor, she noted: „He was fully dressed but his pants were open and it was out.” After she decided against the recommendations of friends to report the incident, the supervisor began repeatedly to hound her, inquiring whether or not she reported the incident to higher officials. As rumors of the incident spread through the plant, she finally reported it to management officials. In the end, because the incident became a classic case of conflicting „he said/she said” testimony and because she was a probationary employee, the janitress concluded I „was to be laid off for giving out the wrong story” and „because ‚I talked too much.‘” She appealed and lost the grievance. (UAW Local 833, „TANK ARSENAL PLANT, Grievance No. 36,” December 12, 1944 and „AFFIDAVIT OF MRS. O. THOMAS,” August 26, 1944, F. 18, B. 98, Chrysler Department Collection, Archives of Labor History and Urban Affairs, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI.)
In the extensive collections of UAW shop-floor grievances and of auto worker oral histories, this incident and many similar ones reveal the hidden history of shop-floor sexualized behaviors and sexual relations between male supervisors and female subordinates and between male and female workers. The proposed paper will explore the workplace conduct, both consensual and predatory, of men and women in the American automobile industry from the 1930s through 1950s. Selected shop-floor grievances and oral history accounts will illustrate three phases of workplace sex and sexuality: The offensive sexual harassment of women workers by supervisors in the pre-union era, the playful, flirtatious, and paternalistic sexuality between male and female workers during world War II, and the coarser and meaner male harassment of women workers who competed for men‘s jobs in the postwar years.

Raja Gopal Dhar Chakraborti, Reader and Formerly Head, Department of South & Southeast Asian Studies, Calcutta University
Knowledge, Attitude and Practice ( KAP) study of the Jute workers in West Bengal, India

Most of the workers are migrant labourers who mostly stay single and their families are in the villages whom they can meet and mate not more than once a year. Brothels and prostitution are rampant and a 39.7% of respondents have admitted of having visited the commercial sex centres more than once in the past six months. A 45.2% of workers are not familiar with the dangerous consequences of the disease called AIDS. A 70.1 % of workers are not familiar with the link between menstrual cycle and fertility. A 21.0% of workers have not seen condoms. None of them are familiar with female protection of reproductivity apart from sterilisation and doctor prescribed pills. None of them have tried oral and anal sex, either their partners did not allow or they thought it could be possible and pleasurable.
Interestingly, none of them would tolerate their spouses and children to have sex outside marriage. Although none of them have confessed of having ever received sexually transmitted diseases, doctors practising among them believe that around 15-20% suffer from STD’s. Even pathological centres around confess that every two out of fifteen cases they handle could be related to the diagnosis of such diseases.
The paper will come out with concrete suggestions to come out of this impasse.

Joan Sangster, Professor of History and Women‘s Studies, Frost Centre for Canadian Studies and Native Studies, Trent University, Peterborough, Canada
Putting sex in context: a materialist-feminist analysis of the sexual regulation of Aboriginal and working-class girls in mid-twentieth century Canada

Recent scholarly writing on colonialism has become more preoccupied with the process by which the sexualized bodies of both the colonized and colonizers were manufactured within the context of European imperialism and racism, while an earlier tradition of historical work explored the regulation of working-class sexuality, particularly that of women and gays, within the overlapping structures of class, gender and to a lesser extent, race. Using 19th century sources, authors have noted the overlapping strategic goals, political rhetoric and methods of regulation used to ‚domesticate‘ both the colonized „primitive” and working-class „pauper” in efforts to re-fashion their sexual and familial lives to fit bourgeois forms and ideals. (John Comaroff and Jean Comaroff).
While this work is provocative and enlightening, discussions of sexual identity and sexual regulation are often shaped by adoptions of, or engagements with Foucauldian and postmodern ideas distanced from, and sometimes antithetical to analyses of women‘s oppression emanating from historical materialism. With a few exceptions, such as Rosemary Hennessy‘s work, North American writers are uninterested in exploring the connections between sexuality and capital accumulation, production and social reproduction – an unsurprising theoretical turn of events, given the marginality of marxism in North America academe at this time. Although marxist and marxist-feminist work in the past may have dealt inadequately with sexuality, there is nonetheless an important historical tradition, from Alexandra Kollantai to Shelia Rowbotham, of socialists and feminists attempting to theorize sexual oppression, power and emancipation within the context of historical materialism.
This paper draws on historical research on Aboriginal and working-class girls targeted as sexual ‚problems‘ by the law, and often incarcerated to control their sexuality, as a means of entering this theoretical debate. Much of work on sexuality and colonialism draws on 19th c European imperialism abroad, but what happens when the ‚primitive‘ and the ‚pauper‘ are within the same nation, and are increasingly the focus of overlapping regulation in the same institutions? How do we account for the historical specificity of sexual regulation of the working class and Aboriginal in a period of ‚advanced colonialism‘ and monopoly capitalism in Canada in the mid 20th century?
I focus on the apprehension of young women for sexual delinquency during a period when juvenile courts and correctional institutions were increasing their efforts to alter what was seen as ‚out of control‘ sexual behaviour by poor, working-class and Aboriginal girls. Overlapping theories of ‚degeneration‘ were used to understand the girls‘ actions, and common strategies – removal from the home, training for domestic labour – were utilized to reshape their behaviour. There were, nonetheless, some differences defining in the treatment of Aboriginal girls, shaped by the racism, dispossession and marginalization that characterized Canada‘s brand of internal colonialism. Even accounting for these differences, we can still understand the sexual regulation of these girls within the context of materialist social relations. Their apprehension, treatment and experiences were profoundly shaped by structures of systemic gender, class and race inequality: these young girls were not simply ‚signifiers‘ of errant sexuality; they also became labouring bodies in a correctional system designed to correct profligacy with the work ethic.

Minjie Zhang, Professor of Sociology, Zhejiang Academy of Social Sciences, Hangzhou, China
Sexual Harassment in Work Environment and Sexual Policies within People‘s Republic of China

Current studies on sexual harassment in work environment in China exhibit the following characteristics:
1, Because of history, culture and society have been unfair to women for a long time, women are still considered inferior to men in workplaces, and sexual harassment in work environment is a common tendency in both urban and rural areas. It is technically not illegal in Chinese society. Many female workers and farmers were violated by these acts in a long time.
2, Sexual harassment in work environment began to be paid attentions by scholars and government is only after the time of mid 1980s. It has occurred in two stages: the initial stage covering more than ten years. As the socialist legal system be strengthened and feminist theory be widely spread, the meaning of sexual harassment began to be accepted by a lot of the Chinese peoples. The second stage there after making a phase of strengthening and consolidation. With a significance resonating around the globe, the Chinese government has seeking to contain or reduce the occurrence of sexual harassment, some legislators even appealed to promote and achieve legal and moral obligation to combat such acts, and to protect the females in workplaces.
3, Another focus is on how sexual harassment in workplaces affects the division of labor and employment. Very often the finding point to some females would rather be sexual violated by their boss than not loss their jobs. The author analyzes the general distribution and characteristics of the sexual harassment in work environment in contemporary China. Its connection with the various systems and institutions are discussed as well.
4, The author also discusses how the current modes of administration control sexual harassment, and complete with an address of the sexual policies within Chinese government.

Jon Binnie, Manchester Metropolitan University, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences / Beverley Skeggs, University of Manchester, Department of Sociology
Class, Sexuality and the Politics of Transnationalism

Attempts to theorize the relationship between transnational and the politics of class have generally failed to address questions of sexuality and desire. In this paper we examine the interrelationship between the politics of race, gender, class and sexuality through the figure of the cosmopolitan. We argue that most easily assimilated and least threatening and forms of sexual dissident cultures are being re-branded as cosmopolitan. We argue that the Other of the cosmopolitan is the working class (straight and gay) that is marginalized from cosmopolitan consumer culture. This Other either cannot or will not be assimilated and rebranded as cosmopolitan. We see how the ‚unsophisticated‘ non-cosmopolitan working-class is equated with racism, nationalism and homophobia. The figure of the cosmopolitan thereby lets the ‚new middle class‘ off the hook vis-à-vis homophobia. The paper draws on empirical work on the production and contestation of sexualized space within Manchester‘s ‚gay village‘. It also draws on the authors‘ previous work on class, gender and sexual citizenship. Central to the paper is the concern to demonstrate how the class-marked discourses around homophobia are being re-branded through cosmopolitan consumption patterns and practices of everyday life in the city.

Mustafa Abdel Rahman, The American University in Cairo, Egypt
Social Construction of Sexuality, Risk and Reproductive Health amongst Young Men in Dahab

This paper is based on an ethnographic field research in one of Egypt‘s tourist destinations, Dahab (South Sinai). I focus on daily interactions between young Egyptian men and foreign female travelers. I explore working class Egyptian male constructions of sexuality, risk and reproductive health in relation to heterosexual interactions with „foreign” women at the intersections of globalization, tourism, and the hegemonic demands of family and gender within the Egyptian society. Central to my analysis are the ways working class Egyptian men living in Dahab rely on their sexuality as a survival strategy in the face of an increasingly globalized economy. In the context of this process I reveal the construction of their own sexuality and the health risks surrounding them. I argue that in the cultural context of tourism and class struggle in Dahab, ‚urfi marriage and sexuality emerge as counter-cultural strategies for surviving poverty in Egypt in the face of an increasingly globalizing economy. Links between shifting local cultural patterns and global political and economic processes, while playing themselves out in gendered and sexualized terms, are then, central to this paper. I further argue that the gender struggles that emerge between these Egyptian men and foreign women complexify post-colonial theorizations of sexuality that highlight relations between European men and native women. In Dahab, white women negotiate their sexuality as simultaneously class privileged tourists and targets of Egyptian patriarchy while Egyptian men confront the violences of globalization on white women’s bodies. This paper thus situates the study of gender and sexuality in the Arab world within the context of material circumstances and the relationship between the local and global while inserting men into gender studies while tracing cross-border gender struggles in an era of globalization.

P. Swarnalatha, UGC Post-doctoral Research Associate, Department of History, University of Mumbai, Mumbai, India
Society: „Dancing Girls” and Social Transformation in Colonial Andhra

Nineteenth Century Andhra (in southern India) was characterized by social and cultural changes effected by colonial economic policies. In the post 1850 period, Andhra society witnessed the emergence of capitalism and commercialization in the agrarian economy. These not only led to transformations in the social structure, but also contributed to intellectual ferment, and the creation of new world views. Processes of urbanization created a new space for the dancing girls extending beyond their traditional location within the caste / gender hierarchies.
The de-industrialization of the craft and artisanal economy also had its impact on the community of prostitutes or dancing girls as they were called. This paper investigates the late colonial origins of the debates that set the ways and means to articulate the concept of sexuality in British India. It deals with the discourses that ally closely with the anti-colonial policies in defining the sexuality of ‘dancing girls’ / prostitutes and thereby (re)constructed the space for the prostitutes within the emerging socio-economic context of colonial India.
In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in India, different versions of female emancipation came to be tied to ideas of national liberation and cultural regeneration. Middle class reforms undertaken on behalf of women were tied up with the self-definition and identity of this class. A new cultural materialism evolved wherein every attempt towards identity construction involved a re-description of women of different classes.
The paper focuses on the role played by ‘reformers’ and the colonial state in relocating the space for dancing girls through a redefinition of the dominant conception of sexuality. Such an attempt caused concern to the everyday lives of the dancing girls or prostitutes, who voiced their protest against these dominant morals. Literature and records express their dissent against the whole enterprise of crafting a new morality, as well as their opposition to the position given to them within the world constructed by this new morality.
These process had their roots in the transformation of the political economy and its cultural correlates. In a situation where a modern working class was yet to emerge, and the traditional industries had collapsed, a study of the response of different classes to the redefinition and refashioning of sexual mores and norms yields interesting points of analysis of the social history of colonial India.

Ljubow Kusnezowa, Institute of Sociolodgy, St. Petersburg, Russia
Sexualpolitik in Russand in den 20er Jahren des 20. Jahrhunderts

In den 20er Jahren dieses Jahrhundetrs versuchte die neue Regierung Russlands, eine Sexualpolitik des Arbeitern-Bauern-Staates herauszuarbeiten. Ausschlaggebend war fuer diese Versuche eine einschlaegige These von Friedrich Engels. In den revolutionaeren Phasen gesellschaftlicher Entwicklung kommt naemlich die Frage einer „freien Liebe”, d. h. freizuegiger Geschlechtsverhaeltnisse in Vordergrund. Einige fassen dies als ein Fortschritt aus, in dem alte Verbindlichkeiten bzw. Abhaengigkeiten abgebaut werden. Andere moechten mit dieser These Laxheit und Normlosigkeit in sexuellen Beziehungen begruenden. In Russland der 20er Jahren liess sich auch eine allgemeine, unter anderem politische Besessenheit mit Geschlechtsfragen beobachten. An der diesbezueglichen Diskussion haben sozialistische Fuehrer wie W. Lenin, A. Kollontai, N. Lunatscharskij u. a. teilgenommen. Geschlechtafragen wurden zum Agenda von Partei- und Gewerkschaftsversammlungen gemacht. Dadurch hat sich die weiterte Bevoekerungsschichten in dieser Diskussion engagiert. Die Bolscheviks verliessen sich darauf, dass mit die angestrebte Gleichsstellung und Gleichberechtigkeit automatisch zur Ueberwindung der Abhaengiegkeit von Frauen fuehern wuerden. Dies wuerde bedeuten, dass oekonomische Gruende von Prostitution und oekonomisch motivierter bzw. erzwungener Eheschliessungen entfallen wuerden. Zur Umsetzung eines entsprechnden politischen Programms wurde das vorherige Familienrecht abgeschafft sowie die Homosexualitaet entkriminalisiert. Diese Umsetzung wurde durch zahlreiche soziologische Studien begleitet, deren wichtigter Schwerpunkt sexuelle Verhaeltnisse der Arbeiter war.
Diese Studien wurden in mehreren Staedten Russlands durch M. Barosch (1925), N. Efimov (1926), V. Ketlinskaja & V. Slepkov (1929) und andere durchgefuehrt.
Die Annahmender Bolscheviks haben sich jedoch nicht bewahrheitet. Im Zeitraum von 10 Jahren hat sich die Absage an alte Werte und Normen durch keine Entstehung einer neuen Wertestruktur begeitet. Es entsanden eher anomische, wert- und normlose Zustaende und Verhaltnisse. Die Etablierung des totlitaeren politischen Regimes in den 30 Jahren lief auf die Ausschliessung jeglicher individuellen Freiheiten hinaus. Sygmunt Freuds Sublimationsthese wurde zum Anlass fuer A. Salkinds 12 Gebote sexuellen Lebens der Arbeiterklasse genommen. Laut dieser Gebote sollte sexuelle Energie der Arbeiter in deren Produktionsleistungen zur Gestaltung der kommunistischen Gesellschaft umgeleitet werden. Sexualitaet war nicht mehr Thema in Schulunterricht, Forschung und oeffentlicher Diskussion. Homosexualitaet wurde erneunt kriminalisiert, und Abtreibungen wurden strafbar gemacht.

Berthold Unfried, Historiker, Wien
Sexualität im Diskurs von „Kritik und Selbstkritik” in der Sowjetunion der 30er Jahre

Die sowjetische Praxis, in Parteisitzungen „Kritik und Selbstkritik” zu üben und damit die Person des Parteikaders vor dem Kollektiv zu veröffentlichen, hat umfangreiche Protokolle hinterlassen, die sich heute in den Archiven finden. Diese Protokolle sind Quellen ersten Ranges nicht nur für sowjetische Sozialkontrolle und Repression, sondern für fast alle Bereiche des Alltagslebens. Die in diesen Sitzungsprotokollen angesprochenen Themen sind nicht nur, und auch nicht in erster Linie, „politisch” in einem engen Sinn. Sie decken alle Lebensbereiche ab. Nicht selten kam auch Themen zur Sprache, die in unserem Verständnis zu der „Privatsphäre” gehören. Sexualität kam unter den Schlagworten „unbolschewistisches Verhalten zu Frauen” (Behandeln der Frau als Objekt und nicht als Genossin) und „kleinbürgerlicher Individualismus” (promiskuitive sexuelle Beziehungen, unverantwortliche Vernachlässigung der Familie, deviantes sexuelles Verhalten wie Homosexualität) zur Sprache. Ungeregeltes sexuelles Verhalten galt als Gefährung der Parteiarbeit und der Erziehung in diesem Punkt wurde entprechende Aufmerksamkeit gewidmet. In Parteisitzungen konnte diese Erziehung die Form von „Kritik” seitens von weiblichen Parteimitgliedern und von „Selbstkritik” ihrer männlichen Genossen annehmen.
Welche Geschlechterrollen sollten in diesen Diskursen anerzogen werden? Welches Verhältnis von „privat” und „öffentlich” artikulieren sie? Was erfahren wir über Sexualität im Alltag von Parteimitgliedern? Diese Fragen sollen anhand der Dokumente von „Kritik und Selbstkritik” erörtert werden.
Berthold Unfried
Publikationen zur Kulturgeschichte des Stalinismus und zu Praktiken der Selbstthematisierung wie “Selbstkritik”
und Parteiautobiographie, zuletzt des Buches: Der stalinistische Parteikader. Identitätsstiftende Praktiken und Diskurse in der Sowjetunion der dreißiger Jahre, Köln-Weimar 2001 (zus. mit Brigitte Studer).
Gegenwärtiger Arbeitsschwerpunkt zu institutionalisierten Formen der Selbstthematisierung von der Beichte bis zur Selbstkritik.

Ruth Gutermann, Studentin, Wien
Frauen und Sexualitätsdebatten in der anarchistischen Presse in Spanien 1923-1937

„Vielleicht aber gibt es einen anderen Grund dafür, warum es für uns so einträglich ist, die Beziehungen des Sexes und der Macht in Begriffen der Unterdrückung zu formulieren: das, was man den Gewinn des Sprechers nennen könnte. Wenn der Sex unterdrückt wird, wenn er dem Verbot, der Nichtexistenz und dem Schweigen ausgeliefert ist, so hat schon die einfache Tatsache, vom Sex und seiner Unterdrückung zu sprechen, etwas von einer entschlossenen Überschreitung. Wer diese Sprache spricht, entzieht sich bis zu einem gewissen Punkt der Macht, er kehrt das Gesetz um und antizipiert ein kleines Stück der künftigen Freiheit.”
Der Zeitraum zwischen der Gründung des anarchosyndikalistischen Gewerkschaftsbundes CNT 1910 und dem Ende des Spanischen Bürgerkriegs war für die Konsolidierung der Bewegung und ihre Positionierung im späteren Bürgerkrieg von großer Bedeutung. Eine herausragende Rolle dabei spielte zweifelsohne die große Anzahl der anarchistischen Zeitschriften, die verschiedenste ideologische Aspekte der Bewegung beleuchteten. Die Inhalte sollten sowohl die intellektuelle Elite als auch die ArbeiterInnenschaft ansprechen, die meist nicht einmal selbst des Lesens mächtig war, was den Publikationen ihre charakteristische Form verleiht. Der Glaube an eine progressive und aufklärerische Wissenschaft war für die Bewegung der Dreh- und Angelpunkt der „authentischen” Revolution – mit ihr sollten die „Irrationalitäten” der politischen und sozialen Autoritäten wie z.B. Parteien, Kirche und Militär bekämpft werden.
In meiner Studie ziehe ich aus der Vielzahl der erschienenen anarchistischen Zeitschriften zwei – „Estudios. Revista ecléctica” (1928-1937) und „La Revista Blanca” (1923-1936) – als Quellen heran um die Konstruktionen von Sexualität nachzuzeichnen. Diese manifestieren sich in oberflächlich betrachtet so verschieden erscheinenden Themenkomplexen wie der weiblichen Emanzipation, der freien Liebe, der Reproduktion, der Erziehung, der Familie bzw. der Diskussion um die Ehe, der Geschlechtskrankheiten, der Eugenik und des Neomalthusianismus.
Interessant dabei erscheint die spezifische Form der permanenten Verknüpfungen der Themenbereiche. Vor allem die Debatte um die Frauenemanzipation, die in dieser Zeit in den anarchistischen Organisationen einen wichtigen Stellenwert hatte und sehr konfliktiv diskutiert wurde, kommt immer wieder auf die Frage nach der Form sexueller Beziehungen zurück. Frauen wurde Sexualität zugesprochen und das war gleichzeitig der politische Auftrag diese „frei” auszuleben.
Die Untersuchung der LeserInnenbrief-Rubriken, die fester Bestandteil der Zeitschriften sind, soll noch einmal die Frage nach der „Alltagswelt” und ihrer diskursiven Durchdringung aufwerfen.
Die Rede über Sexualität war emanzipatorisches Politikum, das einerseits dazu gebraucht wurde das herrschenden (Geschlechter-)System anzugreifen und andererseits Utopien einer revolutionären Gesellschaft zu schaffen.

Narges Erami, Dept. of Anthropology, Columbia University, New York, USA
Economies of Pleasure and Laws of Desire: Temporary Marriage in Post-Revolutionary Iran

This paper will explore the seeming paradoxicality of a so-called „theocratic” state, the Islamic Republic of Iran, sanctioning sexual pleasure pursued extramaritally (that is, beyond the bounds of nikah, or permanent marriage). Since the early 1990s, the Iranian leadership has proposed a solution on the subject of unfulfilled sexual needs, though such practices as prostitution and adultery have been harshly adjudicated since the Revolution, the leadership proposes an alternative with a long history in Shi‘i Islamic law: temporary marriage (known as mut‘a or sigheh). Temporary marriage is a religiously sanctioned institution that permits a couple to have sexual relations; its duration can be as short as a night. This urgency for temporary marriage to be accepted as a meritorious act that can prevent Iranian youth – as well as women widowed by the 1980-88 war with Iraq – from being tempted into sinful promiscuity is now being practiced between carpet-weaving women and the overseers who employ them.
The paradoxicality begins to melt away – though never entirely – upon recognition that temporary unions work under an economy of pleasure that as normatively construed does not interfere with the matrimonial laws of Shi‘i Islam and their jurisprudence. Such an economy of pleasure is greatly at odds with typical ‚Western‘ characterizations of post-Revolutionary Iran. Indeed, when temporary marriage is treated in foreign accounts (even those from Sunni Muslims of the Arab world who consider mut‘a a perversion of Islamic law), it appears as an oddity, perhaps a peculiar vestige of ancient marital practices from a less individualistic era. But the logic of temporary marriage is part and parcel of a larger structural logic of sexual relations under Shi‘i Islamic doctrine. This larger logic makes it possible for ulama‘ to decry prostitution and adultery as punishable by death but simultaneously to find juridical grounds for temporary marriage, even to ideologize mut‘a as a virtuous institution in stark opposition to „Western sexual decadence.” This „hydraulic” model of desire, emerges alongside – and interpenetrates – historically contingent logics of capitalism. This paper will highlight such an economy with a look at the lives of carpet-weaving women and their attitudes towards the union of temporary marriage, a religiously and socially accepted practice that has led to complicated power dynamics.

Jafari Sinclaire Allen, Department of Anthropology, Columbia University, USA
Unruly Black Bodies: Power, Culture, Ideology, And the Making of Afro Cuban Male Sexualities

Since the 1959 Revolution, the Cuban government has marshaled an expressly raced, sexed, and ideologically singular hegemonic masculine sexuality, in order to constitute and defend the Socialist nation-state. This paper discusses both (1) discourse, and on-the-ground policies and practices, deployed to discipline what was long seen as out-of-control male sexuality; and (2) various strategies and tactics employed to resist these rationalities. It demonstrates ways in which these practices and rhetorics have (are) changed (changing).
This paper is about the variety of ways in which AfroCuban men receive, resist and (tactically) re-inscribe hegemonic masculine sexuality.
Black male bodies were cast as both the major beneficiary of, and most unruly obstacles to the creation of Cuban Revolutionary society– incommensurable with both the image of the militarized and hypermasculine „New Man,” and the harsh disciplines demanded by Soviet Stalinism. Excerpted from my dissertation (researched over a three-year period in Havana and Santiago), this paper illustrates the lived tensions between social disciplines, and the „workings of the imagination” (Appadurai 1996). It will show, through social history, theory, and ethnography, myriad ways in which Socialist discourses and policies on and around sexuality (and gender) articulate with those on race/color. Below are two examples.
Interned in a UMAP (Military Units to Aid Productivity) camp with men who have (or were assumed to have had) sex with men in the 1970’s, reportedly for his choice to wear tight pants and an Afro in the style of African-Americans-Juan‘s (48) story of life inside this infamous institution points to the ways in which the machinery of the State recognizes/mis-recognizes various „dangerous” instantiations of „difference.” 19-year-old Raúl, turns Foucault on his head by reflexively using a confessional strategy– his admission and „diagnosis” of homosexuality names for his family, his doctor and therefore for the State, his difference, which is only facilely subsumed under „sexuality.”