Call for Papers Political Rituals in Eastern Europe

POLITICAL RITUALS IN EASTERN EUROPE:

BETWEEN PROPAGANDA AND EMOTIONAL COMMUNITIES/

RITUELS POLITIQUES EN EUROPE DE LEST:

ENTRE PROPAGANDE ET COMMUNAUTÉS ÉMOTIONNELLES :

11th -12th October 2012,

Craiova, Romania

Romanian Academy,

“C. S. Nicolăescu-Plopşor” Institute for Studies in Social Sciences and Humanities,

GRISCU – Cultural History Group,

“A. D. Xenopol” Institute of History,

in cooperation with

“ProMemoria” Institute of Social History, State University of Moldova,

Extended deadline: 30th May 2012

The purpose of this conference is to explore the relationship between political rituals and identities in Eastern Europe (understood in a broader sense) during the 19th and 20th centuries, with a particular focus on the interaction between propaganda and emotions. Definitions, according to which any ritual could be “propaganda of an authoritarian and inherited kind” (Nicholas J. O’Shaughnessey), should be taken into consideration while examining the complex nature of practices that depend on societies’ different “emotional regimes” (William Reddy).

If political rituals are places for propaganda as prescription of emotions (normative emotives) that try to change the people manner to feed or to standardize their ways of expression, individual or collective, then they cannot elude the variety of emotional styles of groups. In Eastern Europe, the previous two centuries have been characterized by more or less rigid regimes (monarchic vs communist) that put face to face various emotional policies, based on either tolerant or rigorously enforced emotional norms. The ambiguity of the rigid regimes – communist, for example – that inflict a special kind of emotional suffering, while trying at an official level to mime or simulate the affective relation with its people, is evident. Would it be possible to measure how different the “emotional regimes” of the monarchic societies were when compared to those of the communist ones? In our opinion, special attention must be paid to those institutions which had a significant influence on individual or collective behaviour – such as the Orthodox Church for Romania or the Catholic Church for Poland – and explain their impact on public representations of power.

This conference aims to explore the various modes of using rituals as effective tools to create and sustain political identities by analyzing practices in which rituals are performed and their relationship with emotions. It is already widely accepted that political rituals have an integrative, identitarian, legitimating or consolidating function, however their emotional impact, which generates strong solidarities or sometimes even hostilities towards the centre of power, is often overlooked. Furthermore, political rituals could generate reconfigurations of the relationship between the past and the present or the past and the future. This is often achieved through abusing the memory that still makes mnemonic practices socially traumatic (Republic of Moldova).

How do rituals sustain old or new identities and appeal to emotions in order to create new solidarities around leaders or parties? How are strong sensitivities towards symbols induced, and how are they manipulated in order to create cohesion and solidarity around political regimes (monarchic, communist, post-communist)? How do such symbolic politics create “emotional communities” (Barbara Rosenwein) in 19th and 20th century Eastern Europe? Can we retrace the emotional force of the rituals in previous centuries? To what degree did emotions have a role in the formation or dissolution of different power identities?

We welcome proposals for papers and panel discussions on a broad range of topics. We envisage, but do not limit, these topics as treating:

  • The ritualization of power: monarchic/communist/post-communist regimes in Eastern Europe;
  • Social norms, emotions and politics in rural/urban societies;
  • Propaganda and “emotional communities”: the use of traditional frameworks (Church, family);
  • Political performance and the construction of collective identity.

We would welcome proposals from those working across disciplines, and we especially encourage participants from the Russian Federation and Eastern European countries to apply.

The official languages will be English and French.

A selection of conference papers will be published in a Peter Lang collection on Eastern European and Central European Studies, supervised by Christian Gastgeber / Alexandru Simon (ISSN: 2191-8864).

Abstracts of papers (no more than 300 words), along with a CV, current research and principal publications (if any), should be submitted by email to conpree@gmail.com no later than 30th of May 2012.

For further information and queries, please contact Nicolae Mihai at nicolami2008@gmail.com or Virgiliu Birladeanu at virgiliubirladeanu@gmail.com

Organization Board

  • Nicolae Mihai (Romanian Academy, “C.S.Nicolăescu-Plopşor” Institute for  Studies in Social Sciences and Humanities, Cultural History Group, Craiova)
  • Virgiliu Bîrlădeanu (“ProMemoria” Institute of Social History, Chişinău) ;
  • Andi Mihalache (Romanian Academy, “A.D.Xenopol” Institute of History, Iaşi);

Alexandru Simon (Romanian Academy, Center for Transylvanian Studies, Cluj-Napoca).