Global Capitalism Meets Local Postcommunism: Tensions in Transition as Manifested through Physical Culture and the Female Body in Romania
Andrews, David L.
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Nearly two decades after communism officially ended in Romania, the nation continues to struggle in its transition from state socialism to liberal democracy. The increased presence and influence of Western images, democratic ideals, and social ideologies produces a complex and unstable tension with persisting legacies of communism and socialist ideologies. This dissertation is a critical analysis of the ways in which various tensions are manifested within the changing physical culture in Romania, particularly through performative bodies and constructed spaces of leisure and physical activity. In addition, participation in sports and other physical activities related to fitness and health are examined to reveal disciplinary techniques that reinforce normalized constructions of gendered and classed bodies. Using a qualitative, multi-method approach, empirical data was primarily collected in gyms and fitness clubs of three major cities in Romania. Through a contextual, interpretive, and theoretically-informed analysis of the empirical findings, this project intends to expand upon and articulate theories of postcommunist transition, gender, and physical culture in the Eastern European context--opening new lines of inquiry that consider both the empowering and problematic implications of creating and negotiating new subject positions within postcommunist environments.