Baltasiu, Boatcă, Şerban şi Bulumac 4/2009

Sociologie Românească, Vol. VII, no. 4/2009, pp. 138-154.




Romania - layers of collective identity in the 19th and the 20th centuries: An outline until the interwar period

Radu Baltasiu, Manuela Boatcă, Adela Şerban, Ovidiana Bulumac*



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Abstract: There is no simple answer to the question of the development of the Romanian modernity. The paradigm of multiple modernities is a good starting point in understanding the issue since it „acknowledges" „the right" of the East „to appropriate modernity and the global system on their own" (Eisenstadt, Transformation and Transposition of the Thematic Multiple Modernities in the Era of Globalization, 2005, 43), i.e. considering its own development as „normal". But, there is more at stake than multiple realities. The 19h century is for Romania the locus of the beginning to regain access to its own normality. For reality is not only a multiplicity of rightful paths of evolution. Reality can also be filled with people and societies with no access to their own history, i.e. abnormal developments, something which the Western approach has somehow understood as „development of under- development", „reversal of industrial revolution" etc. We will outline some of the most important steps towards Romania's „regained self", i.e. taking into account also the „mishaps" – the pseudodevelopmental issues as well some of the successful paths toward Romania's collective identity. There were three major cleavages between 1711 and 1944, to which we have identified three answers („renaissance" periods). Romania's take off towards modernity started with a sudden interruption (the Phanariot regime), it was overstrained with multiple options and unsound divagations after 1821, to be severely hampered again under the Soviet occupation after 1944. The present paper highlights some aspects of the collective identity until the breakout of the Second World War. It was presented in Istanbul, February 2009, during the Europeanization, multiple modernities, and collective identities – Religion, nation, and ethnicity in an enlarged Europe seminar of VW Foundation at the Kadir Has University.

Keywords: collective identity, Europeanization, modernity, statehood, ethnicity, Christendom, multiple modernities.

Cuvinte-cheie: identitatea colectivă, Europenizare, modernitate, statalitate, etnicitate, creştinătate, multiplă modernitate.