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Title: Unreliable Allies: the Peasants in the Romanian Early Communist Discourse (1948-1965)
Authors: Morar-Vulcu, Călin
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Călin Morar-Vulcu. "Unreliable Allies: the Peasants in the Romanian Early Communist Discourse (1948-1965)" in: "Words of Power, the Power of Words. The Twentieth-Century Communist Discourse in International Perspective", Trieste, EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2019, pp. 261-278
Journal: Studi di Storia
In the Romanian official discourse and particularly in its Stalinist phase, the peasantry
is the object of a constant effort of definition and identity construction, which parallels
the collectivization of Romanian agriculture. I examine this process at two levels,
lexico-grammatical and conceptual, using tools borrowed from social semiotics and
metaphor analysis and I compare the resulting patterns of this process of identity construction
with those of other social actors, such as the working class and the women.
The discourse uses several meaning-making tools to construe the identity of the peasantry:
classification (resulting in sub-entities with different entitlements such as poor
and middle peasantry), collectivisation (aggregation of individual actors in a collective
actor) and generic reference (prototypical definitions of ‘the peasant’). The peasantry is
also passivisized, that is, it is represented as predominantly acted upon by other actors.
As regards the metaphors mostly used to talk and write about peasantry, I identify four main frameworks: spatial (container and positional metaphors), physical (inertial, gravitational
metaphors), biological (body metaphor) and anthropomorphic. Particularly
relevant is – via anthropomorphic metaphors – the relationship with the working class,
structured around the topics of alliance, help and contract. The peasantry appears as a
fragmented, manipulable, inert, unreliable, semi-conscious and self-interested actor, situated
in an inferior position compared to other actors. The features of the peasantry are
essentialised and considered immutable. The analysis also helps to outline the political
community envisaged in Stalinism: a fixed distribution of places and socio-economic
functions reminiscent of corporatism.
Type: Book Chapter
ISBN: 978-88-5511-086-0
eISBN: 978-88-5511-087-7
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 Internazionale
Appears in Collections:06 Words of Power, the Power of Words. The Twentieth-Century Communist Discourse in International Perspective

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