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Accepted Paper:

"It was a ritual of those times" - memories of attending theater during the Ceausecu's Romania  
Zsuzsa Plainer (ISPMN (the Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities))

Paper short abstract:

This paper analyses the practices of attending theater in Romania during the 1980-ies. Based (mostly) on narrative interviews collected recently, the research claims to understand, how the one-time resistance through culture is preserved and how its memory transmitted to new generations?

Paper long abstract:

Memories of the Romanian socialism focus on "big" issues like "politics", "resistance" or "nationalism" of the cultural and political elite. Still, little do we know how these overarching categories (Gullestad, 1991) were shaping practices of "everyday people" in everyday life (Petrescu - Petrescu 2006).

This paper analyzes memories of the inhabitants on attending the local theater during the 1980ies in a Romanian town, Oradea, medium-sized place located in the western border. Based on oral history narratives, contrasted to documents on censorship, interviews with local cultural elite and official party propaganda, this research intends to reveal, how everyday practices of consuming culture reached to value of civic ritual and became an important tool for community building in this local society.

As all the oral history interviews with the former audience were recently collected, the ritual of attending theatrical performances is seen as memory of communist times. Thus, by collecting them we intend to answer the following questions: are the practices of making politics through culture (Verdery 1993) still relevant in our times? How are one-time rituals of resistance seen today, after roughly 30 years from the collapse of socialism? How were the practices of attending theater preserved and transmitted to the new generations? How do they shape the image of socialism in Romania?

Panel Sui02
Current images of socialism
  Session 1 Wednesday 17 April, 2019, -