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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Contribution Paper

Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 3.134

Mothers, Daughters and Sisters in Opposition. Women and Feminism in Polish Opposition Movements during the 1980s


  • Natalie STASIEWICZ

Primary authors


The objective of this paper is to determine what role Feminism played for female activists in the Opposition in Poland during the 1980s. This paper combines methods to analyse source material, which are used in history with narrative interviews, more commonly used in anthropology. Four women, who were part of different opposition groups have been interviewed. The applied methodology opens the possibility for active solidarity between witnesses and researchers, which can be fruitful for the (re)thinking of current struggles such as the continuous oppression of women by patriarchy. The experience of patriarchy connects the narratives of the witnesses with the current theoretical narrative. This narrative duality allows to preserve the subjectivity of witnesses’ narratives, while allowing the current theoretical narrative the authority of interpretation. In her book ‘Caliban and the Which’ Silvia Federici explains that capitalism requires an imagination of women as ‘the other’ to continuously reproduce itself through unpaid reproductive labour. Patriarchy does not exist only in capitalism, while state socialism officially propagated equality of sexes, many measures implemented to ensure this equality did not intend to free women from patriarchy but were means to ensure the maximum productivity of the workforce. State socialism, like capitalism, needed unpaid labour reproduction to preserve itself. This statement does not want to portray the activism of women merely as a reaction to patriarchy, but on the opposite wants to show the potential of feminist resistance against ongoing oppression through different (political) ideologies.