The Romanian Childhood during Communism
1 Mai 2013 - 1 October 2015
Director: Luminita Dumanescu
Mentor: Ioan Bolovan
Those who approached the communist period, from its multiple perspectives, were especially interested in its dark aspects, as a black spot in the Romanian history, from the political, economical and human points of view. No scientific approaches on the childhood in that period were made and we do not have a socio-historical evaluation of all these components of a child life during the communism regime. That is precisely the aim of the present project: a highlight of the lived history, combining the psychological aspects emanated by those experiences and the sociological evaluation of what meant for the subjects being a child during the communism In the common sense the childhood under Romanian communism is collectively rememberd as a dark period - both literally (if we think about doing homeworks at the candle or gas lamp light) and figuratively (a time of lacks, over organization and overregulation and discipline, queueing etc.). On another hand, the present young generation, born after 1990 and used to the benefits of freedom, democracy and, moreover, of the consumer society, can barely imagine how their very parents lived and played without such things as computers and internet access, 20 or 30 years before. Although the time span is small, the mental gap between the two generations is huge! Todays parents speak about the difficulties they faced in their childhood and tend to put the burden of their missed childhood on the shoulders of their children. However, we think we have sufficient data to discover a childhood characterized by several grey tints. It is historically impossible for a full generation - namely the one born and raised under communism - to have only negative memories about its childhood. Such things as queuing, doing homeworks at the candle light, in involvement in agricultural campaigns, being a soim al patriei or a pionier, Eugenia, Deitul or the Rom chocolate must have also left pleasant memories for todays adults.
I consider that, coming with this project both as a continuation of my current researches in field of childhood history and in the field of family history, we can gat a history of Romanian childhood, at least from the 18th Century until close to the present time. Even if, as a structural category and specific age, the childhood is generally marked by the same attributes that go beyond times and cultures, there are some differences that lead to a specific type of childhood in a certain period. If we think about play as a specific criterion, we can see that, during the pre-modern period, play was taking place in the context of household activities (while keeping an eye on the grazing animals); during communism, it took place in front of the block or around queues for food; nowadays, children play at computers or in specially dedicated places in malls. This being just one example!
Summarizing, the purpose of the project is the reconstruction of the way of life and of the social role of children during the communist period.
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