Articles

ABSTRACT

In 1948, immediately after the communist Party came to power in Romania, state officials commissioned a group of art experts to radically transform the existing public and private art collections into a national system of museums. These professionals became the new regime’s arbiters of value: the ultimate authority in assessing the cultural and financial value of artwork, and thus deciding their fate and final location. Newly available archival evidence reveals the specific strategies that they employed, and the particular political needs of the state they were able to capitalize on in order to survive and even thrive under a regime that, in principle, should have disavowed them.

ABSTRACT

The paper analyzes the urban modernization of socialist Romania during the 1950s and 1960s with an eye to understanding the reconfiguration of professional and political alliances in the post-war socialist bloc. I argue that immediately after Stalin’s death in 1953, the government started to pursue a regime of reduced dependence on the USSR in those domains that the Party held to be the most important, such as urban planning.

ABSTRACT

The paper proposes an analysis of a linguistic construction of “self” as it was constructed in a series of petitions written by one of communist Romania’s “disenfranchised”, a former factory owner whose belongings were nationalized by the communist state. Employing a microhistorical perspective and insights from linguistic anthropology, I show how this writer attempted not only to ask for his rights to his lost possessions but also to “re-make” himself as a socially and morally legitimate individual, as a coherent “self”, through the very act of remembrance and narration.

  • “Networking Texts and Persons: Politics of Plagiarism in Postsocialist Romania.” Romanian Journal of Society and Politics 4, 2: 148-173, 2004.

Abstract
The paper takes a famous case of plagiarism (the Beuran scandal), which provoked lots of noise and smoke on the Romanian public scene of 2003, as a window onto larger processes of reconfiguration of political, economic and symbolic capital among the postsocialist elites of Romania. I argue that a close examination of the ways in which “intellectual property” is understood, evaluated, embraced or rejected by various social actors could point to the significant transformations of political identities and concepts of personhood and accountability, which occur in contemporary Romania and, to a certain extent, across the whole former socialist bloc.