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The case of Romania

The post-communist transition in Romania has been a period rife with high hopes and expectations as well as strong disappointments and disillusions. The engagement with these disappointments or disillusions has mainly fallen along the lines of critical editorial comments by dissidents and intellectuals or academic engagements that connect it to different forms of social and political apathy. What seems to be lacking however, is a more head-on engagement with disillusionment as a self-contained process that is not just a side-effect of political corruption or economic failures but rather an intrinsic part of any transition. This book provides the basis for a theory of disillusionment in instances of transition. It also elaborates on how such a theory could be applied to a specific case-study, in this instance, the Romanian transition from communism to capitalism. By defining disillusionment as the loss of particularly strong collective illusions, the book identifies what those illusions were in the context of the Romanian 1989 Revolution. It also seeks to understand the extent to which disillusionment is intrinsic to social change, and more importantly, determine whether it plays an essential role in shaping both the direction and the form of change. The book further inevitably places itself at the intersection of a number of different academic literatures: from regional and comparative studies, political science and "transitology" studies, to sociology, psychology and cultural studies.

The case of the Timisoara revolutionaries
Anca Mihaela Pusca

to go out in the streets, he would not attempt to topple the Ceausescu regime and would in fact choose to wait for a more reformist communist government.1 Another two leaders of the Timisoara Revolution, Claudiu Iordache and Lorin Fortuna have expressed similar feelings of disappointment and regret.2 The period immediately following the revolution, including the new political regime, the transition process and the series of democratic reforms, caught many of the revolutionaries by surprise. And yet, was that not what they were out in the streets for? Surprisingly

in Revolution, democratic transition and disillusionment
Anca Mihaela Pusca

concept of shock within a political context, he was perhaps also the one who marked the beginning of the transition from a negative to a positive connotation of shock, by acknowledging that shock was a necessary part of modernity, one that was not likely to go away soon and one in which the individual could even be able to rejoice. Slowing down the process of shock and absorption of shock can allow the individual important insights into the nature of change and modern society and create a space where shock becomes a period of revelation, of awakening and realization of

in Revolution, democratic transition and disillusionment
Abstract only
Anca Mihaela Pusca

developing a new theory of illusion formation and disillusionment, drawing from studies in psychology, anthropology, urban and visual studies, I have sought to give more complexity to phenomena that would otherwise appear overly simplistic. I have sought to dispel common assumptions that the much talked-about disillusionment haunting post-revolutionary Central and Eastern Europe was nothing more than individual pessimism related to economic shortages or a form of political apathy caused by too much governmental and institutional corruption. If anything, I have tried to

in Revolution, democratic transition and disillusionment
The case of the Group for Social Dialogue
Anca Mihaela Pusca

6 The illusions and disillusions of civil society: the case of the Group for Social Dialogue Based on a series of interviews with the founding members of the Group for Social Dialogue—the first civil society organization in post-revolutionary Romania—clippings from the group’s magazine entitled 22—one of the most popular political magazines in the months immediately following the revolution—as well as a rich secondary literature on the larger concept of civil society, as viewed and interpreted by a number of leading Central and Eastern European writers and

in Revolution, democratic transition and disillusionment
Abstract only
Anca Mihaela Pusca

1 Introduction The post-communist transition in Romania has been a period rife with high hopes and expectations as well as strong disappointments and disillusions. The engagement with these disappointments or disillusions has mainly fallen along the lines of critical editorial comments by dissidents and intellectuals or academic engagements that connect it to different forms of social and political apathy. What seems to be lacking however, is a more head-on engagement with disillusionment as a self-contained process that is not just a side-effect of political

in Revolution, democratic transition and disillusionment
Anca Mihaela Pusca

, from studies on political and social apathy,1 to studies on political and intellectual elites,2 to medical and psychological studies3 as well as journalistic reflections.4 The conclusion was more often than not that disillusionment was pervasive and it interfered with citizens’ ability and willingness to participate in the newly founded democracies of Central and Eastern Europe. Attempts to engage with the issue of disillusionment in a more theoretical manner, as opposed to a purely descriptive one, have already been made, the latest and most notable one being

in Revolution, democratic transition and disillusionment
Romania, seventeen years into its transition
Anca Mihaela Pusca

past, the Secret Security Archives weigh heavily in any and all BETWEEN THE PAST AND THE FUTURE discussions about political and economic reform, public elites, political corruption, restitution and justice. The following pages trace the debates surrounding the opening of the archives for a comprehensive analysis and seek to underline the importance of the way in which one comes to terms with one’s past for the future. While the Secret Security files—perhaps the most important evidence of the inner functioning of Romania’s communist regime—have for the most part

in Revolution, democratic transition and disillusionment
A visual narrative of the Romanian transition to capitalism
Anca Mihaela Pusca

would arouse a particular kind of desire and expectation, these spectacles turned entire societies into the slaves of their own imagining. As different as the two ideologies or dreamworlds may appear to be, BuckMorss argues that at the base of each lies a very similar desire for material power that can transform the natural environment: “the dream was itself an immense material power that transformed the natural world, investing industrially produced objects and built environments with collective, political desire.”13 The dreamworld was thus not just a world of

in Revolution, democratic transition and disillusionment