Communism in retrospect: the rhetoric of historical representation and writing the collective memory of recent past

2013-01-31T12:55:43Z (GMT) by Cristian Tileaga
Using a case study of official representation of communism in Romania, this article addresses the rhetoric of historical representation and some of the ways in which the collective memory of communism is managed in the context of how post-communist democracies reckon with former regimes. It specifically centres on the public accomplishment of coming to terms with the past in the ‘Tisma˘neanu Report’ condemning communism in Romania. Using an ethnomethodologically inspired critical analysis, the article examines how the report and texts supporting it address the issue of how to take the communist era into public consciousness. The shaping of a specific representation of communism and the making of political-moral judgments in the report is legitimated by (1) treating communism as a category of the macro-social and textually mediated reality, (2) constructing the need for a scientific approach, and (3) conceiving communism as Other, alien to national identity and national interest. General implications for the substance and meaningfulness of coming to terms with recent history are discussed.