Based on an in-depth semantic analysis of interviews with poor Polish couples living in a foreclosed state farm and the examination of the so-called “linguistic sexism” of the Polish language, the author shows that despite a manifest change in the social context of poor households, power relations within impoverished rural married couples still remain the same. The traditional power imbalance can be observed at the level of the respondents' utterances, especially with regard to gender roles, work and household duties, dowries and inheritance. In households with downwardly mobile men, husbands tend to assert even more symbolic power than in households in which the husbands have jobs, even if low-paying ones. Wives of downwardly mobile men in the community studied are inclined to verbally support their husbands and patriarchal family relations, despite the fact that often the traditional basis of patriarchy—economic providership—is now women's responsibility also.

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