Consuming Socialists: Children, Families and the State in Postwar Poland
The article explores the relationship between children and consumption in 1960s and 1970s Poland. This is a rich and complex historical context, in which both the notion of childhood and that of consumption carried multiple and contradictory meanings.
Based on ordinary people’s life stories, the article explores the different meanings attributed to child consumption, at the crossroad of private and public narratives.
It is argued that the question of children’s consumption offers a key perspective for the understanding of the political and social transformations that took place in postwar Poland, and that conversely, the specific framework provided by the People’s Republic forces to rethink some strong assumptions about the nature and meaning of consumption in the postwar era.
In particular, I suggest that the issue of children’s consumption highlighted the transformations taking place within Polish families, both in the relationships internal to the household and in those taking place between households and society.