How to Think Critically about the Common Past? On the Feeling of Communism Nostalgia in Post-Revolutionary Romania

The Annals of the University of Bucharest - Philosophy Series 68 (2):57-71 (2019)
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This article proposes a phenomenological interpretation of nostalgia for communism, a collective feeling expressed typically in most Eastern European countries after the official fall of the communist regimes. While nostalgia for communism may seem like a paradoxical feeling, a sort of Stockholm syndrome at a collective level, this article proposes a different angle of interpretation: nostalgia for communism has nothing to do with communism as such, it is not essentially a political statement, nor the signal of a deep value tension between governance and the people. Rather, I propose to understand this collective feeling as the symptom of a deeper need at a national level for solidarity and ultimately about recapturing a common feeling of identity in solidarity. This hypothesis would be in line with a phenomenological approach to memory as a process of establishing shared codes by rewriting the past in such a way as to strengthen social bonds and make possible a reimagining of a common future. Nostalgia for communism does not need to be ultimately an uncritical stance as it has been depicted, instead one could interpret it as a form of critical reflexion about our current forms of life. Instead of seeing communism nostalgia as a specific form of being stuck in the past, one could explore its potential for pointing at the things that are still not working in the current neo-liberal regime.

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Lavinia Marin
Delft University of Technology


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