Confronting “imperialism” and “loneliness”: Sexual and gender relations among young Communists in Greece, 1974-1981



Papadogiannis N (2011) Confronting “imperialism” and “loneliness”: Sexual and gender relations among young Communists in Greece, 1974-1981. Journal of Modern Greek Studies, 29 (2), pp. 219-250.

The increasing influence of Communist youth organizations on youth sexuality and its gender dimensions in the first post-dictatorship years in Greece (1974-1981) politicized sexuality and gender within a broader context. What was contested between Communist and anti-Communist forces from the 1940s onwards became the partial relaxation of parental control over the sexual life of their children in Greece from the 1960s onwards. This continuity questions the argument that the 1960s and the 1970s were marked by a "sexual revolution" in Europe and the "West" in general. It demonstrates that the strengthening of Communist and Socialist youth organizations produced mixed results with regard to the sexual patterns of their members. Some of these groups, especially the pro-Soviet Communist youth organization, adopted rigid guidelines, demanding that their members develop stable heterosexual relationships, leading to marriage. In contrast to what was prescribed in the official language of these organizations, many of their members engaged in loose, premarital relations, without being punished by their group. The challenge posed to Communist youth groups by Second-wave feminism in Greece in the mid-to-late 1970s helps us understand this interaction not only from a women's history perspective but also from that of gender history, illustrating the impact of Second-wave feminism on the making of both femininities and masculinities within Communist youth groups.

Journal of Modern Greek Studies: Volume 29, Issue 2

Publication date10/10/2011
Publication date online21/10/2011

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Dr Nikolaos Papadogiannis

Dr Nikolaos Papadogiannis

Lecturer in European History, History