Using mass dictatorship as a working hypothesis to comprehend
support for dictatorship from below, this book concentrates on the
gender politics deployed by dictatorial regimes such as Nazism,
Stalinism, 'really existing socialism' in the GDR and People's
Poland, Maoist China, the development dictatorship in South Korea,
and colonial empires. 20th century dictatorial regimes used gender
politics as a lever to mobilize men and women as voluntary
participants in state projects. Ironically enough, women under
dictatorships could become important players in the previously
male-dominated public sphere in exchange for voluntary
mobilization. But both men and women were not passive objects of
gender politics. Men both embraced and rejected the masculine roles
set out for them; and the dictatorial regimes' invitation to
participate in the public sphere, designed for the
self-mobilization of women, was often used by women for
self-empowerment. This book shows the twisted paths of citizens'
lives under the dictatorial regimes as they veered between
self-mobilization and self-empowerment.
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