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Gender, Infrastructure and the Production of Domesticity in the (Post)Communist City

Project description

Gender and housing in (post-)communist Bucharest

The fall of the communist regime in Romania in 1989 and the emergence of the capitalist democracy reshaped former boundaries between public and private. Against this background, the housing infrastructure that originated from the communist period must accommodate a new type of domesticity. The EU-funded Domesticities project will establish the significance of housing infrastructure created in the period 1955-1984 concerning the home, family and the role of women in communist and post-communist Bucharest. The project defines domesticity as a complex of changing attitudes and practices directly connected to the political intention promoted within the communist housing projects. Domesticities will explore the interactions between the processes of communist housing and today’s lived experiences of women.


This research proposes to investigate the relationship between gender, the (post)communist state and architecture in the passage from socialism to its aftermath in Bucharest, Romania. The project explores the manner in which housing infrastructure was employed as a political technology in the production of gendered subjectivities—that is, women’s embodied experience of the built environment—in the communist and post-communist periods. The fall of the communist regime in 1989 and the emergence of capitalist democracy served both to contest and reshape former boundaries between the private and the public realms. At the same time, housing infrastructure is the main inheritance of the communist system and constitutes, within a new socio-political condition permeated by Western images, the physical structure that must accommodate a new type of domesticity. The research defines domesticity as a changing set of attitudes and praxes that are specifically linked to the political intention embedded within the communist housing projects. The main research objective is to establish the significance of housing infrastructures built in Bucharest between 1955 -1984 in the regulation of the home, the family and women’s roles in the communist and post-communist periods. The research will achieve this objective by interrogating, on the one hand, the interaction between processes of regulating, designing, building, using and imagining socialist housing and, on the other hand, the actual lived experiences of women. The approach of this research project is interdisciplinary, employing ethnographic methods, archival research, and drawing on specific theoretical frameworks—from architecture, anthropology, and gender studies—for analysis and interpretation. The research will be a unique contribution to existing scholarship on the legacies of communism in states from Eastern Europe, by relating questions of gender to the constitution of domesticity through infrastructure.


Net EU contribution
€ 212 933,76
WC1E 6BT London
United Kingdom

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London Inner London — West Camden and City of London
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 212 933,76