The inspiration for Kideckel’s book stems from an active role in cultural anthropological research in Eastern Europe for 30 years, focusing specifically on communism and its impacts on society.
Kideckel spent time in Romania in the Jui Valley and Fagaras region, comparing both the employed and unemployed workers, researching the effects that the Postsocialist era has had upon people as individuals and within family units.
Throughout his time in Romania, Kideckel interacted with the societies, taking time to involve himself in the roles of the people of the Jui Valley and Fagaras region. He went to the extremes of working amongst those in the coal mines and the factories, whilst also socializing amongst the communities, playing backgammon, simply to see life from the point of view of those affected by post socialism.
Kideckel made many observations, not least that the workers, who had been the backbone of the socialist era, were suffering greatly during the Postsocialist era.
In researching for his book he interviewed many people from the Jui Valley and Fagaras, asking how they felt living in a Postsocialist environment.
“People found it very difficult to articulate how the felt, they simply felt stressed,” said Kideckel. He said that in 1997 there were 52,000 employed miners, yet by 1999 – following drastic layoffs – there were only 18,000 employed workers. A total of 34,000 jobs were lost in the mines. With no other jobs available the communities began to change.
Kideckel observed that the symbolic change was that the workers, formerly the backbone of the country were now, in the Postsocialist era, viewed as the “others” and considered outcasts.
Also explored in his book are ideas that heart disease increased, the divorce rate rose significantly as did family abandonment and rape and sexual abuse, all as a result of changes following a socialist era.
While pursuing research for his book, Kideckel also produced a documentary, which defines the life, social and political circumstances of the Jui Valley miners – “Days of the Miners: Life and Death of a Working Class Culture”.
Adam Golaski from the English department will next be presenting at Central Authors Presents, with his latest book, “Worse Than Myself ”.
-Colette Gallacher, Copy Editor