Home    Number 5, 2023

Everyday Life of Women in Dubna of the 1950s–60s

[Zhenskaia povsednevnost’ v Dubne v 1950–1960-e gody]

DOI: https://doi.org/10.31857/S0869541523050135


Type of publication: Research Article

Submitted: 23.11.2022

Accepted: 18.04.2023

About author(s)

Natalia Pushkareva | https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6295-3331 | pushkarev@mail.ru | Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences (32a Leninsky prospekt, Moscow, 119991, Russia)

Alexander Zhidchenko | http://orcid.org/0000-0002-2948-4008 | travel822@yandex.ru | Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences (32a Leninsky prospekt, Moscow, 119991, Russia)


women, everyday life, urban anthropology, city, oral history, ego documents


The article analyzes the structures of women’s everyday life in the “science city” of Dubna, designed to become a showcase of socialism in the USSR of the 1950s–60s. We believe that during the years of the “Khrushchev thaw” and the rise of scientific centers throughout the country, women in these new towns found themselves in nontrivial conditions for traditional Soviet women’s everyday life, where they gained the opportunity to implement their own life strategies in science and related fields. Few took advantage of this opportunity, however. Residents of the closed town of Dubna had access to special supplies and social infrastructure that was exemplary for that time; they were able to contact foreigners and enjoyed many cultural privileges. Triangulation of the sequences of biographical stories conveyed by representatives of different social strata, comparing them with media materials and extracts from normative sources led us to the conclusion that the traditional gender contract, subjected to only slight erosion in the first decades of the Soviet power, did not disappear at all – in fact, it took root in the “city of the future” inhabited by designers, inventors, and scientists. Due to the rigidity of this contract, the majority of Dubna’s residents did not succeed in becoming, and did not want to become, independent actors seeking to declare themselves and their professional ambitions in science or the public sphere. We attempt to reveal the social role of such women through the prism of everyday life and social memory. We argue that it boiled down to the fulfillment of social expectations, the readiness to remain in service roles and provide a reliable rear support for their husbands-scientists who worked on major Soviet projects in the field of nuclear physics.

Funding Information

Russian Science Foundation, https://doi.org/10.13039/501100006769 [grant no. 22-28-01428]


Pushkareva, N.L., and A.V. Zhidchenko. 2023. Zhenskaia povsednevnost’ v Dubne v 1950–1960-e gody [Everyday Life of Women in Dubna of the 1950s–60s]. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 5: 211–226. https://doi.org/10.31857/S0869541523050135 EDN: YEHBEZ

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