We seek first-hand experiences with and accounts of (post)socialist schooling and childhood from cultural insiders to engage in remembering and (re)narrating their experiences. We understand “cultural insiders” in a very broad sense: for instance, people who were born in and experienced childhood and schooling in a (post)-socialist society; those who grew up amidst socialist or antisocialist sentiments in a “capitalist” society; and those who lived with the suddenly erected physical and ideological borders, such as the Berlin Wall, in both socialist and capitalist state contexts.  

We approach memory not as history but as “a lived process of making sense of time and the experience of it” to explore “relations between public and private life, agency and power, and the past, present and future” (Keightley, 2010, p. 55-56). The focus is on the exploration of how childhood and schooling were constituted and experienced in (post)socialist contexts and (re)narrated at the present. Childhood as a socio-historical construct provides an analytical incision into the social issues and concerns regarding historical socialism, cultural/ideological changes, and subject formation. As Gonick & Gannon (2014, p.6) argue, “rather than truth of particular lives, … we are interested in using memory stories to examine the ways in which individuals are made social, how we are discursively, affectively, materially constituted in particular moments that are inherently unstable” and to open up ways to explore “how things come to matter in the ways they do” (Davies et al., 2013). By reflecting on the experiences of (post)socialist schooling and childhood through the narration of lived experiences, memories, and artifacts of schooling as experienced in different geographical locations, we can  critically re-examine the assumed monolithic (and authoritarian) nature of the (post)socialist education systems, while revealing contradictions and complexities inherent in (post)socialist education and open up to new insights.

We would like to engage the broader public in sharing memories of (post)socialist childhoods, which would be available publicly on this website and could be used for future research. If you are interested, we ask you to please share memories of your (post)socialist childhood and schooling with us and the followers of our site. You can use the following questions to help you remember and craft a memory story:

  • What were the materialities and spaces of socialist childhood(s) and schooling?

How did uniforms, school structures (buildings, hierarchies, policies, timetables, rules, roles), and any other school objects structured the daily practices, experiences, emotions, and sensations of children?

  • How was childhood and schooling constituted and experienced by you and/or others  in (post)socialist contexts? How were children made social and political?

How were pedagogies of space, time, and ideology experienced in children’s everyday lives (including schools, specialized/elite schools, camps, collective farms, after-school activities, etc.)?

What childhoods were produced in familial, teaching, and other caring relations (including teachers, nurses, doctors, welfare agencies, etc.)?

How was childhood constructed in relation to other generations and geographies?

How were differences – language, sexuality, gender, ethnicity, race, (dis)ability, and other – constructed and experienced?

  • How do these memories contribute to and/or challenge the existing accounts and interpretations of socialist childhood and schooling?
  • What do these memories tell us as researchers about how we have mastered (and been mastered by) particular theories and understandings of (post)Soviet/socialist transition, education, and childhood?

Please use this form to share your memories with us (the format for this form was adapted from the Connectors Study):

Can we post your memory (anonymously) onto the project blog?*

If you have an image to accompany your memory/memories, please, upload it here (jpg)

Can we post your image (photo, art work or other, anonymously) onto the project blog?*

YesNoI don’t have an image to share