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From condemnation to melancholy: alternative meanings of post-communist nostalgia in Romania beyond the official anti-communist discourse


Morariu, Măriuca


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Abstract This paper attempts a conceptual understanding of "post-communist nostalgia" by looking at various interdisciplinary approaches to the phenomenon. It then brings empirical evidence into discussing how the "nostalgia" label has been applied in public discourse among various Romanian opinion leaders in the recent years by focusing on two main controversial issues: the official document condemning communism with its associated discussions and the debate around building a Museum of Communism in Romania. Discourse analyses of 50 articles including editorials, opinion articles, interviews and reports outline the main clash between an official anti-communist discourse and alternative positions or anti-anti-communist discourses, be they radical-moralising, leftist or simply critical towards the politicisation of the anti-communist discourse. The official anti-communist discourse seems one-sided and while doing justice to victims of the past regime, it also confiscates a collective memory at the expense of a decisive Western-type of discourse. Finally, the paper provides examples of an alternative discourse to the dominant verdict of "exorcising the past". When bringing into discussion examples from cinematic representations, I argue that they have little to do with amnesia or anti-modern tendencies commonly understood as explanations for the results of recent polls on people’s attitudes regarding communism. Since yet another verdict on the matter is far from being useful, I strive to shift the perspective on the debate from a moral, anti-communist view to a more balanced one that takes into account cultural, psychological, social and political explanations, while keeping in mind the dangers of both starting from zero in a purified present and glorifying a utopian "Golden Age".
Thesaurusschlagwörter anti-communism; nostalgia; post-communist society; cinema; public opinion; attitude; collective memory
Klassifikation politische Willensbildung, politische Soziologie, politische Kultur
Sprache Dokument Englisch
Publikationsjahr 2012
Seitenangabe S. 289-308
Zeitschriftentitel Studia Politica: Romanian Political Science Review, 12 (2012) 2
ISSN 1582-4551
Status Veröffentlichungsversion; begutachtet (peer reviewed)
Lizenz Creative Commons - Namensnennung, Nicht kommerz., Keine Bearbeitung