In the Age of “Misery”. The Romanian Sociology during the Communist Regime (1948-1977) [II]
IV. A Controlled Re-institutionalization of Sociology (1965-1977)
On 29 May 1959, several representatives of various sectors dealing with research in social sciences established the National Sociological Committee, which was affiliated, the same year, to the I.S.A.(International Sociological Association). The first meeting of the Committee established a number of priorities, adopted a statute and voted a ruling committee which included: Athanase Joja (as Chairman), Mihail Ralea, Vasile Malinschi, Petre Constantinescu-Iaşi (vice-Presidents), Manea Mănescu (general-secretary), Andrei Oţetea, Constantin Ionescu-Gulian and Tudor Bugnariu (members). The establishment of this committee and the affiliation to the International Sociological Association were followed by the participation, for the first time by a Romanian delegation, to the IV International Congress of Sociology which took place from 8 to 15 September 1959 to Stressa, Milano, and at the V International Congress of Sociology, which took place in the United States at Washington, from 2 to 8 September 1962. In 1962, it was issued, after almost fifteen years of absence, a new specialized periodical–The Romanian Journal of Sociology, publication of the National Committee of Sociology. The magazine’s periodicity would not be yearly, as between 1962-1970, only six numbers were issued grouped in four volumes.
How should we understand and analyze these events? A brief look at those who were part of the ruling committee of the N.S.C., on those two delegations who attended the Congresses of the I.S.A., but also at those who signed the articles of the first issues of R.J.S., reveals a paradox. No one subject to the above enumeration were professional sociologists. In these circumstances, one should ask himself to what extent these initiatives have contributed to the revival of the Romanian sociology? The answer to this question is quite simple. It is obvious that the establishment of N.S.C. in 1959 was a political and propagandistic act, which didn’t took into account the tradition of Romanian sociology. The purposes of these initiatives were different. Those who were charged to represent Romanian sociology abroad were merely “diplomats” appointed with an ideological mission rather than a scientific one. Their aim was not to bring to the attention of the academics the stage of development of the Romanian sociology – a discipline sidelined for over a decade, but to record the trends in Western sociology and to respond to these trends from a Marxist perspective. At least until 1965, the existence of N.S.C. and its periodical have brought almost no benefits for the Romanian sociology. The sole positive aspect of the two initiatives could have been a cautious and controlled openness towards sociology. However, the fact that professionals as Henri H. Stahl, Traian Herseni or Octavian Neamțu, were ignored and not asked to be a part of these initiatives, is a detail showing rather political and ideological intentions, but also reserves towards the old Romanian sociological school.
The history of the Romanian sociology between 1959 and 1965 is difficult define. Sociology was still regarded with mistrust and suspicion, as it was still a marginalized discipline, but its place among the other social sciences was to be discussed. Dimitrie Gusti, though rehabilitated in 1955, was still judged for his errors and mistakes – the most serious of which was his or his school’s political involvement. But, as a consequence of the Soviet Union’s ideological thaw, a liberalization current was also perceived in Romania, and the first steps towards a recovery of the interwar Romanian sociology’s heritage were made.
1965 represents a milestone in the history of Romanian sociology. After many years in which the discipline tried to define its identity and find a place of its own among the other social sciences, the political regime, through the voice of the R.C.P. leader, gave a signal in terms of reconsidering the role of sociology in Romania. The consent given by N. Ceauşescu apparently guaranteed the re-institutionalization of sociology after nearly two decades of marginalization. At this point, it is necessary to emphasize that the “legalization” of sociology occurred at a time when the internal and the international context favored making such a decision. First of all, it was a pressure from other socialist countries, which were making progresses in this field. Second of all, the institutionalization of sociology and the timid recovery of the interwar Romanian sociology tradition – by republishing the works of Dimitrie Gusti or Petre Andrei, represented an ideological remoteness from the monopoly imposed by Moscow.
The first steps towards a re-institutionalization of the Romanian sociology were exceeded. Accepted and promoted even by the regime– essential detail in a ultra-centralized communist system, sociology could have hoped to regain the status and importance it had in interwar. But the gap caused by the nearly two decades of marginalization would not be so easy to recover. Firstly, the institutional framework of the discipline was to be restore.
In 1965,a first important step towards the institutionalization of sociology is implemented by the setting up of a Centre for Sociological Research at the Romanian Academy of Science and by the re-establishment of departments of sociology, first at the University of Bucharest, and later within the University of Iaşi and Cluj-Napoca.
On the “ins and outs” of these undertakings and on the struggles that were given from those who could claim the paternity of these departments, Henri H. Stahl remembers some interesting details. As reported by Stahl, Tudor Bugnariu was the one who had a practical and coherent initiative for the recovery of sociology as an academic discipline. Trying to materialize his intention in a manner as professional as possible T. Bugnariu sought feedback on this issue through lengthy discussions with Traian Herseni and Gh. Vlădescu-Răcoasa. Later, they discussed the subject through a series of articles on the relationships between sociology and socialism/communism which were published in the “Contemporanul” magazine. Of the new climate around the discipline benefited C-tin Nicuţă, a former diplomat and a Philosophy PhD, who reinterpreted the theses launched by Bugnariu, radicalizing them in a Stalinist manner. Thus, it seems that he was the one to reestablish a Department of Sociology at the University of Bucharest’s Faculty of Philosophy. But C-tin Nicuţă was soon to be intruded in his project by Miron Constantinescu, a former student of Dimitrie Gusti and a former important member of the communist nomenclature. Removed from the Politburo and the Central Committee after a putsch attempt in 1957, Constantinescu was to regain his high position in the management structures of the communist system within less than a decade. The new balance of power determined a compromise. Thus, they were created two departments: one of sociology, led by Miron Constantinescu, and another one in the sphere of sociological doctrine and methodology, which was assigned to C-tin Nicuţă. Subsequent the agreement between the two, C-tin Nicuta experienced a period of professional decline, which allowed Miron Constantinescu to take charge and become the only “patron” of the discipline.
It is interesting the fact that the presence of these three characters at the top of the discussion on the restoration of sociology in Romania was not coincidental. Curiously, the destinies of the three show similarities that are worth be brought into attention. All three were students in the 30s and had sympathies for the Left. All three graduated the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy, but each one in another important Romanian academic center: Miron Constantinescu in Bucharest, Tudor Bugnariu in Cluj and Constantin Nicuţă in Iaşi. All of them had a major in sociology, working each with a different important sociologist of interwar Romanian: Miron Constantinescu with Dimitrie Gusti, Tudor Bugnariu with Virgil I. Bărbat and Constantin Nicuţă alongside Petre Andrei. After 1945, all of them were professors of dialectical and historical materialism in Iasi (Constantin Nicuţă), Cluj (Tudor Bugnariu) and Bucharest (Miron Constantinescu).
Moreover, after 1945 the careers of the three experienced similar ascending trends. During the postwar years, they occupied similar positions and offices. Miron Constantinescu was Secretary of State in the Ministry of Education in 1947. Tudor Bugnariu occupied a similar position from 1950 until 1956. Meanwhile Constantin Nicuţă was a professor, head of department and vice-chancellor at the “A. A. Zhdanov” Superior School in Social Sciences during 1951-1956. Afterwards he was replaced in all these functions by Tudor Bugnariu, while Constantin Nicuţă took his place as Deputy of the Minister of Education. During this period, Miron Constantinescu experienced an impressive political career, occupying high positions in the party and state structures. After Constantinescu’s “fall” of 1957, the careers of the other two took a turn for the best. Bugnariu was appointed professor of dialectical and historical materialism and head of department at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Bucharest, occupying an academic office which belonged to Miron Constantinescu prior to his political decline. Constantin Nicuţă made a career in diplomacy – becoming ambassador of Romania in Vienna and Paris.
In 1965 the balance of power between the three seemed to favor Bugnariu who had the most important academic background. Nicuţă was the one who left the academic field for nearly a decade, opting for a career in diplomacy, while Constantinescu was politically and also academically marginalized also for nearly a decade. But Nicuţă probably took advantage of his political capital acquired during his diplomatic experiences and easily surpassed Bugnariu, obtaining a primacy in the re-institutionalization of the Romanian sociology. Also, Miron Constantinescu’s gradual rehabilitation after 1965 changed again the balance of power, since Constantinescu had the most impressive political background, know acting as a “new old star”.
By assuming the success in terms of “ruling” the new academic discipline, Miron Constantinescu saw a huge potential in this opportunity. He brought by his side the retired Henri H. Stahl, one of the most valuable exponents Bucharest Sociological School, seeking to obtain a primacy in the discipline, which would could satisfied Constantinescu’s pride and thirst for power after a decade of political and social marginalization. His pride and perhaps a dose of significant resentment made him take some bizarre decisions too. Thus, Constantinescu did everything in his power to “marginalize” Traian Herseni or just keep him away from sociology. Constantinescu probably believed that the latter could weaken, through his intellectual background and his prestige, his privileged position in the Romanian sociology.
After 1965 the number of the Romanian sociological research units has expanded and diversified. In addition to the departments of sociology established within the Romanian universities, other departments have emerged within institutions subordinated to the S.R.R. Academy of Science. Distinct sociological research units were also established. Moreover, a 1970 “general survey” of the sociological research projects carried on in Romania revealed that there were many other academic research institutes with preoccupation in the field of sociology.
Within the University of Bucharest there were two separate units of sociological investigation. Firstly, it was the Department of Sociology of the Faculty of Philosophy, whose main objective lied in teaching. The other unit was the Sociological Laboratory which had its one administrative status, even if it was working under the authority of the Department of Sociology. The Department was established in 1966 through the efforts of Miron Constantinescu and Ion Drăgan. The Sociological Laboratory was established by Order no. 739/5.12.1968 of the Minister of Education. It was functioning as a branch of the Department of Sociology of the University and had different tasks: to undertake field investigations, to grant methodological assistance and to co-ordinate as far as methodology is concerned the investigations made by other educational units.
At the “Babes-Bolyai” University in Cluj-Napoca it was established a Department of Philosophy – Sociology and a Sociological Laboratory. The Department was founded in 1967, while the Laboratory a year later.In the „Al. I. Cuza” University of Iaşi was founded a Department of Psychology – Sociology in 1967. Sociological research was also undertaken by the Department of Economic of Agriculture and Statistics of the Faculty of Economics.The Department of Sociology of the “Ştefan Gheorghiu” Academy of Social and Political Education was established in 1966. Operating within the Faculty of Philosophy and Political Science it also served the Faculty of Economics and the Faculty of History of the Academy.It is also worth mentioning the fact that the Popular University of Bucharest has approved a series of lectures “Introduction to sociology” since 1967.
Beside these centers which mission was primarily didactic, there were also established sociology departments within the institutes subordinated to the Academy of Sciences, or even distinct specialized institutes. An example of this kind is the Department of Sociology of the Institute of Philosophy of the R.S.R. Academy of Science. Another example is the Research Centre for Youth Affairs, established in 1968 under the coordination of the Ministry for Youth Affairs. The Centre was coordinated by Ovidiu Bădina and had a structure similar to a research institute of the Academy of science.
Investigations with sociological character were also undertaken by other institutions, despite the fact that within their structure there were not distinct departments of sociology: the Institute of Psychology of the R.S.R. Academy, the Center for Anthropological Research, the Institute of Economic Research, the Institute of Hygiene and Public Health, the Institute of South-East European Studies, the Institute of Pedagogical Sciences of the Ministry of Education or the Research Institute for Agrarian Economy and the Organizing of Socialist Agricultural Enterprises.
Towards a New Marginalization (1970-1977)
The history of the Romanian sociology after 1965 was marked by several events that lead to a further marginalization of the discipline. At first moment was the establishment of the Academy of Social and Political Sciences. On November 13, 1969 a work meeting that gathered scientists, researchers and professors of social sciences was held. During this meeting it was decided to form a commission which was to draw up the drafts of what would become the Academy of Social and Political Sciences.On February 19, 1970 the first General Assembly of the A.S.P.S. was held. The institution was going to be submitted to the authority of the Romanian Communist Party’s Central Committee. With this meeting the Statute of A.S.P.S. was adopted, and the full members, the correspondents and the managing offices of the Academy were elected. The decisions adopted by the General Assembly of February 19, 1970 were enacted by the S.R.R.’s State Council Decree no. 121/ March 18, 1970. The Decree scrupulously established the duties of the institution that was to control the social sciences in Romania.Also, the third article of the Decree stipulated that:
“The Academy of Social and Political Sciences promotes the dialectical and the historical materialism as methods of research and provides theoretical and ideological orientation of the scientific research on Marxism-Leninism grounds”.
The Academy was organized in specialized departments, which were subordinated to the General Assembly and the Presidium. A.S.P.S. had eight sections, and it was composed of 125 full members and 95 correspondents.The impact of the A.S.P.S. establishment on the Romanian sociology was mainly a negative one. Although the appointment of Henri H. Stahl as head of the Section of sociology could have been considered as a guarantee of an improving of the work and of research methods, Miron Constantinescu remained the “master” of discipline.
Another turning-point occurs in 1973-1974, when Romania’s cultural policy is subject to an ideological reorientation, with the launch of the famous “theses of June”. In this context, the death Miron Constantinescu also occurs (July 1974). Miron Constantinescu’s influence on all the social sciences increased with his appointment as president of the A.S.P.S. (1970). Constantinescu, who was still one of the most zealous “Stalinist”, as far as his attitude towards his subordinates, had powers allowing him to control the entire scientific activity in the social sciences. He was the one who approved research internships abroad or any travel to international convention or conferences. And during those times, such privileges were the ultimate benefit that a researcher could have. But Miron Constantinescu’s political position could have had a positive influence over the discipline, mainly in terms of the possibilities that he was able to provide to the research units. Thus, his death in 1974 produced a little “earthquake” in the Romanian sociology as the discipline lost an important support and its influence among the party officials and the decision-making bodies. After his sudden death in 1974, the history of Romanian sociology took an unexpected turn. Subsequently, the Sociological Laboratory of the University of Bucharest was to be abolished. A few years later, in 1977, Romanian sociology would receive another blow. The Central Committee Plenum in June was to impose a set of measures that led to a further marginalization of the discipline: the study of sociology was restricted to post-graduate studies, the graduating specialization being abolished.
The postwar history of the Romanian sociology could be divided into several, distinct periods, each and every one influenced by some dramatic changes due to social, economic, and political causes, but also to the international context. If the 1944-8 chronological framework was a period of revival marked by a “re-launch” of the discipline, this short intermezzo was nothing but a late echo of the prewar and the war time scientific accumulations. Although in this period the contributions in the field were valuable and numerous, these works were written by well-known prewar sociologists and it were based on their previous activities and researches. The establishment of the communist regime in Romania was the first major breakpoint in the history of the discipline. The new political regime developed a hostile attitude towards sociology, considering it as a “bourgeois pseudo-science of society”. The university departments and the specialized institutes were disbanded, and the sociologists were to find possibilities for professional retraining. However, the sociological researches continued during these years of “misery”, but at an “underground” level, conducted by some of the prewar sociologist who worked in different research institutes.
A significant political, ideological and intellectual breakthrough could be detected during the first half of the 60s, doubled by a paradigm shift of the communist regime’s attitude towards sociology. This change was detectible even within the discourse, as the “bourgeois pseudo-science of society” became the “bourgeois sociology”. The re-institutionalization of the discipline in the 60s led to an explosion of empirical studies, which was followed by a significantly increase of the sociological literature. But a new decline of the discipline occurred in the second half of the 70s. Although the number of sociological contributions does not decrease dramatically, most of these were not valuable, but rather profound ideological contributions.
To conclude, we must say that the establishment of the Soviet-type communist regime in Romania led to the abolition of sociology and then delayed its re-institutionalization for almost two decades. The natural and normal development of the discipline was thus delayed by the political repression and the ideological inflexibility of the communist regime. Thus, with the rehabilitation of the discipline in the 60s, the efforts to recover the advances made by the Western sociologies were to be doubled. But the need to fill the scientific gap had at least a positive aspect, as the (re) emerging Romanian sociology’s attitude towards the Western sociologies was both receptive and critical. This tortuous process during which the Romanian sociology sought to regain its position among the other social sciences could be explained by several hypotheses. Firstly, sociology was again institutionalized only when the regime was capable to accept it as a legitimate and useful discipline. Moreover, a re-launch of sociology was only possible when the discipline was able to individualize itself within the theoretical and ideological complex consisted of Marxism-Leninism, dialectical and historical materialism and scientific socialism.
 „Activities of the National Sociological Committee”, In: The Romanian Journal of Sociology, vol. I, 1962, pp. 225-229.
 The Romanian Journal of Sociology, vol. I, 1962; vol. II-III, 1964; vol. IV-V, 1966; și vol. VI, 1969.
 Gall Erno, Sociologia burgheză din România. Studii critice, Ediția a II-a, Editura Politică, București, 1963, p. 173.
 Cătălin Zamfir, “9 ipoteze …”, In: loc. cit., pp. 53-71.
 Gall Erno, Sociologia burgheză …, p. 173.
 Nicolae Ceauşescu, Expunere cu privire la îmbunătăţirea organizării şi îndrumării activităţii de cercetare ştiinţifică, In: Nicolae Ceauşescu, Ştiinţa, învăţământul, cultura în procesul formării societăţii socialiste multilateral dezvoltate, Bucureşti, 1976, p. 31.
 After the establishment of the first Department of Sociology at the Faculty of Philosophy within the University of Bucharest (1966), similar Departments were founded at the University of Cluj-Napoca and the University of Iaşi – a Philosophy-Sociology Department at the University of Cluj-Napoca and Psychology-Sociology Department at the University of Iaşi. In the period 1968-1970, sociology courses were introduced in all branches of higher education (technical, economic, agricultural, medical, architectural, pedagogical), Ştefan Costeaet alii, op. cit., p. 367.
 Tudor Bugnariu (b. June 30, 1909, Budapest – d. June 25, 1988, Bucharest). He was a student of the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy of the University of Cluj and, after graduating, he was offered a job as an assistant professor at the Department of Romanian language. He was soon released because of his political options, becoming a secondary school teacher. After August 23, 1944 Tudor Bugnariu became the Mayor of Cluj and after the 1948 Education Law he was reinstated as a professor at the University of Cluj and then at the University of Bucharest [Corneliu CRĂCIUN, Dicţionarul comunizanţilor din noaptea de 23 spre 24 august 1944, Oradea: Editura Primus, 2009, p. 121]. In October 1958 he was transferred at the University of Bucharest, where he became a professor of dialectical and historical materialism and the Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy, Arhiva Universităţii Bucureşti / The University of Bucharest Archive, Direcţia Resurse Umane – Dosare de cadre / Department of Human Resources – Personal Files, file B 516 (Tudor Bugnariu).
 Constantin (Costache) Nicuţă (September 8, 1906, Paşcani – 1991, Bucharest). Student of the University of Iaşi – the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy and the Faculty of Law (1928-1932). He was later offered a job as an assistant professor at the Department of sociology and ethics of the University of Iaşi, thus working with Petre Andrei (1936-7). Afterwards, he was eliminated from the University due to his political option for the left. He became a PhD of the University of Iaşi with a thesis on the theory of social knowledge in the work of Max Weber (1945). Soon after, he was a professor of dialectical and historical materialism at the University of Iaşi. After 1948 he settled in Bucharest After 1965 he was the Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy (1965-8), head of the Department of sociological and political doctrines (1966-1972), and head of the Department of sociology (1972-4). In 1970 he becomes a member of the Academy of Social and Political Sciences, and the vice-president of the Section of sociology (1970-1990), Ştefan COSTEA (coord.), Sociologi români …, pp. 342-343.
 For further details, see: The Romanian Journal of Sociology, vol. VI, 1970.
 Virgil CONSTANTINESCU, Pompiliu GRIGORESCU, „The Bucharest University’s Sociological Activity in the Realm of Education and Scientific Research”, In: The Romanian Journal of Sociology, vol. VI, 1970, pp. 25-31.
 Nicolae KALLOS, Andrei ROTH, „Achievements and Prospects in the Activity of the Sociological Laboratory of <Babeş-Bolyai> University, Cluj”, In: The Romanian Journal of Sociology, vol. VI, 1970, pp. 123-125.
 Ştefan COSTEA et alii, op. cit., p. 367.
 Al. BĂRBAT, „Sociological Activity Carried On by the Department of Economy of Agricultureand Statistics at the <Al. I. Cuza> University, Iaşi”, In: The Romanian Journal of Sociology, vol. VI, 1970, pp. 127-129.
 Ion IORDĂCHEL, „The Activity of the Departmnet of Sociology of the Academy of Social and Political Education <Ştefan Gheorghiu> under the C. C. of the Romanian Communist Party”, In: The Romanian Journal of Sociology, vol. VI, 1970, pp. 33-36.
 ANIC, Fund Miron Constantinescu, file no. 26, ff. 1-5.
 Mihail CERNEA, „Sociological Investigation Carried Out by the Institute of Philosophy”, In: The Romanian Journal of Sociology, vol. VI, 1970, pp. 45-62.
 Ovidiu BĂDINA, “Research Centre for Youth Problems – Bucharest”, In: The Romanian Journal of Sociology, vol. VI, 1970, pp. 63-71; Idem, “Le cadre institutionnel de l’étude scientifique de la jeunesse en Roumanie. Centre de recherches sur les problèmes de la Jeunesse, attributions, structure, actions”, In: Revue Roumaine des Sciences Sociales, serie Sociologie, tom 14, 1970, pp. 97-108.
 C. BOTEZ, “Activities of Sociological Interest carried out by the Psychology Institute of the Academy of Social and Political Studies”, In: The Romanian Journal of Sociology, vol. VI, 1970, pp. 73-76.
 Vasile V. CARAMELEA, “Sociological Research in Social Anthropology carried out by the Centre of Anthropological Research”, In: The Romanian Journal of Sociology, vol. VI, 1970, pp. 77-84.
 C. GRIGORESCU, “Research of Sociological Character in the Institute of Economics Research of the Academy of Social and Political Sciences”, In: The Romanian Journal of Sociology, vol. VI, 1970, pp. 85-88.
 Gh. PĂTRU, “Sociological Research at the Hygiene and Public Health Institute”, In: The Romanian Journal of Sociology, vol. VI, 1970, pp. 109-114.
 L. MARCU, “Sociological Research at the Institute of South-East European Studies”, In: The Romanian Journal of Sociology, vol. VI, 1970, pp. 105-108.
 Leon ŢOPA, “Sociological Research at the Pedagogic Sciences Institute of the Ministry of Education”, In: The Romanian Journal of Sociology, vol. VI, 1970, pp. 119-122.
 D. DUMITRU, “Sociological Activity at the Research Institute for Agrarian Economy and the Organizing of Socialist Agricultural Enterprizes”, In: The Romanian Journal of Sociology, vol. VI, 1970, pp. 89-92.
 “Stenograma consfătuirii de lucru cu oamenii de ştiinţă, cercetătorii şi cadrele didactice din domeniul ştiinţelor sociale (13 noiembrie 1969)”, ANIC, fund The Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party – Agitprop Section, file no. 29/1969, f. 49.
 „Decret 121/1970 privind înfiinţarea Academiei de Ştiinţe Sociale şi Politice a RSR”, In: Buletinul Oficial al RSR, Year VI, No. 22, March 18, 1970, Part I, p. 130.
 Mihai Dinu Gheorghiu, Intelectualii în câmpul puterii. Morfologii şi traiectorii sociale, Iaşi: Editura Polirom, 2007, p 95.
 ANIC, fund The Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party – Agitprop Section, file no 31/1971, ff.1-13.
 Cătălin ZAMFIR, “9 ipoteze …”, In: loc. cit., pp. 53-71.
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