Mass culture forged on the party's assembly line : political festivals in socialist Romania, 1948–1989
Title: Mass culture forged on the party's assembly line : political festivals in socialist Romania, 1948–1989
Author: OANCEA, Constantin Claudiu
Citation: Florence : European University Institute, 2015
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of History and Civilization
The thesis examines the structure and functions of political festivals in socialist Romania, between 1948 and 1989, focusing especially on their roles in mirroring the official communist ideology and its shifts between the Marxist-Leninist doctrine and nationalism, as well as in shaping a new type of culture for members of the working-class and peasantry. This analysis illustrates political festivals as instruments of institutional and mass control, and as means of self-representation for the communist regime, with the purpose of providing political legitimization. The research has focused on a comparative perspective, developed at two levels: a chronological one – between youth and workers festivals in Romania, during the 1950s and 1960s, and the so-called National Festival of Socialist Education "Song of Romania", during the 1970s and 1980s – and a structural comparison – between the official image of festivals in propaganda, at a general level, and that of festivals as perceived by ordinary people, at a case-study level. Political festivals constituted an important means of institutional and mass control, as well as of creating a new type of culture, in socialist Romania. Youth and workers festivals characterized the official cultural atmosphere of the 1950s and 1960s. Later on, in the aftermath of Nicolae Ceausescu's policy of integrating nationalism in the Marxist-Leninist ideology, in order to legitimize his personality cult, political festivals became the main instrument of forging the new man of the communist regime. Benefiting from a wide and diverse array of primary sources and material, the thesis addressed the following questions, among others: What was the development and evolution of political festivals in socialist Romania? What material and discursive contexts determined the selection or replacement of political symbols in the framework of political festivals? What were the effects of political festivals on everyday life for ordinary people? How did political festivals deal with the issue of leisure, free time and continuous education?
LC Subject Heading: Festivals -- Political aspects -- Romania -- History -- 20th century; Propaganda, Romanian; Communication in politics -- Romania; Romania -- Politics and government -- 1944-1989
Defence date: 11 September 2015; Examining Board : Professor Philipp Ther (University of Vienna/EUI) – Supervisor; Professor Maria Todorova (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) – Co- Supervisor; Professor Pavel Kolár (EUI); Professor Bogdan Murgescu (University of Bucharest).
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