Title National ideology under socialism: identity and cultural politics in Ceauseşcu's Romania
Author Katherine Verdery
Publisher Berkeley: University of California Press
Annotation Prof. Verdery analyzes how the communist regime in Romania, by means of politics of culture managed to legitimize itself and construct a national-communist identity recognized both domestically and internationally. Using Bourdieu’s theories of the intellectual field and of symbolic capital, the author describes the manner in which Marxism indigenized itself in Romania – how it acquired strongly nationalistic facets. Ceauseşcu’s regime fostered a hegemony (in a Gramscian sense) of cultural and historical representation, thus generating self-censorship, acquiescence and collaborationism from the part of the community that produced knowledge and identity-narratives (e.g., writers, scholars, teachers, journalists, etc.). This way, the regime created, what she calls, a “cognizant public” – one that was civilized and supported the values promoted by the RCP. However, she also stresses the fact that such process inevitably brought about a proliferation of nationalistic narratives under circumstances of competition for resources. This took the process of communism’s nationalization in Romania a step further, generating a specific hybrid of nationalism and communism. Prof. Verdery proves her point by looking into particular cases that show how various national motifs or topics were put forth by the RCP leadership and how the official line generated a complexity of representation - a discursive pluralism on given themes. The interplay between nationalism and communism in Romania arguably led to a re-imagination of the socio-political community, which in its turn, legitimized the leadership and ‘pacified’ oppositional or revisionist symbolizations of both the present and the past.
Author of Annotation Bogdan Cristian Iacob
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