The Politics of Memory and the Refashioning of Communism for Young People: The Illustrated Guide to Romanian Communism
Keywords:Romania, public memory, postmemory, post-communist nostalgia, civic education, visual analysis
This paper analyzes the contents of a pocket-sized booklet entitled Ghidul ilustrat al comunismului românesc (The Illustrated Guide to Romanian Communism), which was published to counter growing nostalgia for the communist era that is popular among Romania’s young people. Influenced by family members and the media, the postmemory of Romanian communism among the country’s youth tends to focus on the positive aspects of the communist period and ignore the crimes of the postwar regime. The guide provides a selective reading of the history of Romanian communism and identifies repression as its main feature. The critical visual analysis of the images in the guide identifies the various forms that repression took during communist rule. It targeted not only individuals but also entire social groups, who faced imprisonment on political grounds. At the same time, the repression took quotidian form as the regime extended its control over people’s private lives and even their habits of consumption.
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