Gender and Business in Poland during and after the Cold War: The Case of Families of Small Entrepreneurs
with Marta Chmielewska, PhD researcher, HEC
Tuesday, 18th May, 2021, 14:00 (CEST), Villa Salviati, Sala del Consiglio/hybrid mode
Due to “shock therapy” reforms and the introduction of neoliberal order in Poland in the 1990s when unemployment rates skyrocketed, the number of small businesses increased. A large number of people who started them were working class men. Setting up a small business allowed them and their families to escape poverty and provided financial opportunities as they faced low competition and strong consumer demand. In studies of class stratification in post-socialist countries, researchers examine how financial, social and cultural capitals assumed different values under socialist and capitalist systems. However, the gendered division of labor and the role of families of business owners are rarely addressed. I want to argue that as small entrepreneurship begun to play an important role in the state economy, the enterprising heteronormative nuclear family was expected to become the main actor of social change.
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