Institutionalizing Anticommunism. Restructuring Cultural Policies in post 1989 Eastern European Book Publishing and Film Industry

Claudiu Turcus's picture
Call for Publications
March 1, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, Eastern Europe History / Studies, Film and Film History, Humanities, Literature

This issue attempts to map the almost two decades-long transformation of the anticommunist paradigm into actual cultural policies that `reformed` the book publishing and the film industry in post1989 Eastern Europe. Anticommunism authorized all the identity, political, social, and economic transformations undergone by countries of the former Soviet bloc. Therefore, the vast influence of the paradigm extended far beyond the centres of research on communism, whose patronage by local presidents, governments or Parliaments enabled them to back the official public condemnation of communism. The institutionalisation of anticommunism in the field of cultural production offers the best, clearest way to understand the mechanisms, struggles, anxieties, and widespread consequences of this complex process. There are two possible, yet less explored ways to conceptualize the specific relation between cultural production and society in post-communist Eastern Europe. Both acknowledge the particular shape that this process took in the region by stating the oversized influence and control exerted by cultural elites on the social and economic landscape of the local transition to capitalism. Thus, local intelligentsia managed to transfer the huge prestige acquired during communism, with no equivalent in Western cultures (A. Baruch Wachtel, 2006), into their main source of economic power during post-communism (Eyal, Szelenyi, Townsley, 1998). This route was largely set by the mid-2000s, when most countries of the former Soviet bloc were admitted in the European Union, and enabled the materialization of the symbolic capital of cultural elites into institutional, political and financial capital.   Several processes marked this post-communist conversion, through stages of decommunization, denationalization, privatization. They triggered the new capitalization of state resources that would further develop as a large-scale economic model. The anti-communist discourse anchored this vast restructuring that occurred at the legislative, managerial, and public policies levels, as it provided a platform with the media exposure, and the popular support that enabled the achievement of political and economic power.  

Therefore, we welcome contributions which may include, but are not restricted to the following topics:  

- Transitional legislative frames that enabled the so-called decommunization of culture and society.

- Financial networks ensuring the implementation of the anti-communist agenda beyond the state funding.

- Trajectories of privatization in book publishing, cultural journals, film studios, professional associations.

- Post-socialist modes of film production and distribution that both reproduce and hybridize the statist patterns of functioning.

- The establishment of new institutions and scenarios of development.

- The specific book collections and film genres supported by the anti-communist cultural policies. - Influential agents of this cultural production.

- The pragmatic output and the long-term effects on book publishing and film markets.

- The pressure to align with legislative and institutional tenets of Europeanization.  

- The effects of anti-communist cultural policies on local research in cultural studies, social sciences, film and literary studies.

Since this thematic issue aims to provide a transnational overview, the contributions should provide in-depth analyses of distinct Eastern European cases that could eventually be integrated within a regional interpretive framework.  Full articles of up to 9000 words are expected. The deadline for submitting abstracts is March 1st, 2020. Full articles are expected in June 1st, 2020. The Special Issue will be published in October (3/2020). Queries should be sent to guest editor Dr. Claudiu Turcus: /

Contact Info: 

Dr. Claudiu Turcus, Babes-Bolyai University