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Political uses of memory and the state in post-communism

[journal article]

Gussi, Alexandru

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Abstract The new identities of political parties, civil society, intellectual circles and schools after 1989 have been fundamentally rooted in the discursive and representational processing of the communist past. Compared to the German model of uncompromising condemnation of the Nazi past or the Spanish model of consensual oblivion, the countries in Eastern Europe provided a new model, structured on a top down trajectory, of instrumental cleavage. The paradox lies in the fact that the ideological consensus over the type of the future society makes impossible the consensus over the means of condemning the old society. As the cleavage over the communist past remains a central issue of social and political dissent, the notion of truth remains politically contingent. In Romania, which is not necessarily an exception, we see the remarkable phenomenon by which the classical conflict between the positive and negative perspectives of the recent past is substituted by a conflict revolving around the legitimacy of the postcommunist state and its political elite.
Keywords post-communist society; coming to terms with the past; political identity; collective memory; democratization; political attitude; political power; Romania; Eastern Europe
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture; Political System, Constitution, Government
Document language English
Publication Year 2013
Page/Pages p. 721-732
Journal Studia Politica : Romanian Political Science Review, 13 (2013) 4
ISSN 1582-4551
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works