Second Regional Trainer-Training Workshop (RTTW)
History and Historical Sociology of Socialism : the History of Present Times, launching session, 14 Dec. – 18 Dec. 2002 in Ljubljana (Slovenia)
Organised by Transeuropéennes, The Faculty of Social Sciences of Ljubljana, Institute for Critical Social Studies of Plovdiv. Within Transeuropéennes’ programme : "Taking action after the war : Democracy building and the challenge of differences in South East Europe", “Democratisation and Knowledge” in the frame of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, Programme for the encouragement of democratic dialogue and the reconstruction of social links. Supported by The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Council of Europe, Open Society Institute – HESP, University of Ljubljana - Faculty of Social Sciences.
History and Historical Sociology of Socialism: the History of Present Times
The problem field of history and historical sociology of socialism has yet to be determined. The series of academic workshops Transeuropéennes will organise together with their partners (Institute for Critical Studies of Sofia, Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Ljubljana) will bring together various efforts that are presently elaborating this problematics, with the goal to introduce younger researchers and academics to the state of the art, and to train them for their future theoretical, research and educational work in history and historical sociology of socialism. The field is rich in approaches and in the material accumulated. Much of this has been produced already during the times of the existence of historical socialisms. Theories have to be re-read, empirical data re-examined. The “retro” perspective opens a multitude of questions that concern their very foundations of the humanities and social sciences. Some of the approaches have the ambition of a general theory of historical socialisms. Some of them were proposed in the past, and deserve a historical appraisal. Others are more recent, and are still in the process of elaboration.
One of the recent attempts was delineated in the 1980s and the 1990s in the rethinking of some influential trends in the social sciences, such as the reflexive sociology of Pierre Bourdieu, the economy of shortage of Janos Kornai, the historical school around ‘Annales’ (and most of all the research of Pierre Nora and his pupils on the places of memory) etc. This rethinking was an attempt to overcome the covert influence of ideological cliches on the theoretical explanation and the empirical study of the so-called socialist society – cliches coming both from the self-description of that society and from the descriptions by its critics. An emblematic book of this new problem field was, for instance, the notable study “Why So Easily?” by Ivo Mozny, and “Society of Networks” was one of the key metaphors through which this society was denoted.
The theses underlying the research strategies in this new scientific field can be summarized very laconically as follows:
- the society in which we used to live until recently was – as the result of decree-based blocking of capital motivations (not only in the economy but also in politics etc.) – a society of a systematically self-reproducing shortage and of networks compensating for this shortage; the return itself of capital motivations was only possible through network games;
- if we do not take into account the fact that the shortage-compensating networks which were not admitted into the official public space were the source of energy and cohesion for this society, we cannot explain neither its historical fluctuations nor the society in which we are living now: therefore, the historical sociology of socialism is also a historical sociology of the present;
- the empirical effects through which one can grasp the double games between political errands and ideological unconscious during socialism (cf. e.g. the studies on newsreels as normalizing machines, on the political funeral and the rewriting of biographies, on the rewritings of history textbooks) are an effect of the society of networks;
- those superficial effects, which were turned by the superficial critics as well as apologists of the pre-1989 society into its ideological emblems – nomenklatura privileges, totalitarian control, administrative economy – can only be viewed as indicators of the structural shortage and the networks compensating for it;
- the effects which the researchers of the post-1989 society, after the deblocking of capital motivations (the so-called ‘transition period’), describe as ‘conversion of capitals’ can be viewed not so much as a conversion of network resources into capitals than as a redistribution of network resources; that is why the society in which we are living now continues to be entangled in the networks of socialism. The workshops will bring together outstanding researchers of historical socialisms with the aim to foster the formation of a next generation of researchers, theoreticians and scholars.
Prepared by Deyan Deyanov and Rastko Mocnik
Only a few days after the end of the Saint-Denis Paris-8 session, organised in the framework of the first Regional Trainer Training Workshop, the Ljubljana session opened, inaugurating the second RTTW.
The back-to-back scheduling of the two activities did not facilitate the organisers’ task. However, the quality of the partnerships that had been established made the endeavour possible. This was particularly the case for the second session. The University of Ljubljana provided comfortable and modern work spaces and a full range of highly effective pedagogical material. Moreover, a number of senior-level academics from the social sciences departments took part in the lectures, whether as audience members or as speakers. Furthermore, the partnership was considerably enriched by the intellectual support of the Institute for Critical Social Science in Sofia-Plovdiv in Bulgaria, a portion of whose work focuses on the study of Bulgaria’s present situation and Communist past. Senior professors from France and Bosnia-Herzegovina also made noteworthy contributions.
The Ljubljana workshop was immediately able to take advantage of the conclusions drawn from the experience of the session at Saint-Denis Paris-8. The last-minute programme changes made by the organisers in Ljubljana consisted of leaving as much place as possible for the sort of group work that had proved so fruitful during the Saint-Denis workshop and of losing no time in dividing up the participants into work groups. The Ljubljana workshop was thus able to very quickly reach a very satisfactory work rhythm.
The content was significantly enriched by the diversity of the participants’ personal experience (most had lived under socialist regimes for more or less extensive periods of time, depending upon their respective ages) and disciplinary backgrounds and approaches. This diversity was profitably structured and channelled by the senior team of academics, though it is also interesting to emphasise the extent to which this “transgenerational” dialogue proved able to enrich the latter’s perspective as well; for indeed the young academics approached their subject in a very different way than their elders, who had been more involved in this type of society. Moreover, the debate recurrently came back to the way in which socialist society and regimes were to be understood. In this sense, the planned participation of specialised professors coming from Western Europe in the course of the next session – in which the mid-term results of the research project will be presented – will no doubt cast yet another light on the issue.
Just as in Saint-Denis, following the Ljubljana session, each participant had to commit him or herself to carrying out a research project on a subject previously decided upon and discussed within the work group, the latter being in each case moderated by a senior academic. Three groups were thus formed and a protocol for communication and long-distance work was organised to foster exchange between the two work sessions. Based on the protocol decided upon in Saint-Denis, it was improved by the participants and will also certainly be able to be positively integrated into the first RTTW, already underway. The next session is scheduled to be hosted by the Institute for Critical Social Science in Bulgaria, in the early summer of 2003.
The result of the preliminary session of this second workshop was thus highly satisfying. Senior professors and young academics alike showed a high degree of involvement in this project in the intermediate term. Certain highly original proposals cropped up, enriching the host of ideas which welled up in the course of this workshop devoted to regional intellectual co-operation; for instance, possibilities for helping young academics meet one another in an autonomous way in order to pursue their research and exchange initiatives were discussed.
Finally, the aim of the next session as well as the final and concrete production of their work projects, which is to be the focal point of a symposium in a university in the European Union, were clearly established and were the object of a renewed agreement on the part of the young academics.
Summary prepared by Christophe Ingels
Andrey BUNDJULOV (speaker) – Member of the Institute for Critical Social Studies, lecturer at the Department of Ethnology and Sociology at the Paissiy Hilendarski University of Plovdiv.
Ivan CHALAKOV (speaker) – Chairman of the Bulgarian Sociological Association, research fellow at the Institute for Sociology at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, member of the Institute for Critical Social Studies, lecturer at the Department of Ethnology and Sociology at the Paissiy Hilendarski University of Plovdiv.
Ioana COJOCARIU – Born in 1973, she is living between Paris and Bucharest. Her thesis, called « Contribution to a Sociology of Romanian Transition through the Case of Feminine Condition and Representation of Femininity » is actually under progress. She is researcher for the Romanian Institute of Recent History and teacher in an alternative institution of Bucharest. Her proposal for the workshop is a analysis of the Brasov municipal RCP archives.
Mathieu DENIS – Born in 1975, he is living in Berlin. He is actually working on his PhD about the politics of German Trade Unions from 1985 to 1997 (period of the Unification and of the European Integration). He is researcher for the Marc-Bloch centre in Berlin and intermediary between the Quebec trade union Fédération du métal and IG Metall for an international meeting of trade union during the next summer. During the workshop he would like to deal with the question of “work, workers and the fall of the GDR”.
Luba DEVETAKOVA – Born in 1976, she is living in Sofia. MA of Sociology in progress about « The Ideological Discourse of the Nostalgia Toward Socialism ». Researcher at “Mediana”, a sociological agency. Her proposal for the workshop is to work on “the images of the heroes and enemies in the socialist propaganda”.
Deyan DEYANOV (speaker) – Director of the Institute for Critical Social Studies, lecturer at the Department of Ethnology and Sociology at the Paissiy Hilendarski University of Plovdiv, chairman of the governing board of the Critique & Humanism Foundation.
Lucia DRAGOMIR – Born in 1967, she is living in Bucharest. After a DEA at the EHESS of Paris, she is working on her PhD at the same institution. The topic of her thesis is “An Institution between Artistic Requirement and Politic Commission: the Study of the Union of Romanian Writer’s during the Communist Period”. She is also teaching at the University of Bucharest and member of various associations. Her proposal for the workshop is a study of the Romanian Literature during the 60’s, 70’s.
Miroslava GEORGIEVA (speaker) – Head of department at GfK – Bulgaria, member of the Institute for Critical Social Studies, lecturer at the Department of Ethnology and Sociology at the Paissiy Hilendarski University of Plovdiv.
Renata JAMBRESIC KIRIN – Born in 1966, she is living in Zagreb. PhD in Philology from the University of Zagreb on « The Testimonial Discourse on the Homeland War in Croatia: aspects of Cultural Anthropology, History and Literary Theory ». Teacher at the Centre for Women’s Studies in Zagreb and at the Institutum Studiorum Humanitatis of Ljubljana. Researcher at the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research. Involve in various activities within the Centre for Women’s Studies, for the International Society of Ethnology and Folklore and for the International Society for Folk Narrative Research. Her proposal for the workshop is a research about socialist and post socialist politics of popularising war memories.
Daniela KALKANDJIEVA – Born in 1964, she is living in Sofia. MA in History from the University of Sofia and MA in History from the Central European University of Budapest. She is actually working on her thesis about “The involvement of the Moscow Patriarchat in Stalin’s Foreign Policy”. She is also teaching at the Theological Faculty of the Sofia University “St Klement Okhridski”. Participation in programs of the Bulgarian national television and radio dedicated to the problems of contemporary Christianity as well as in the Bulgarian programs of BBC and Free Europe Radio, also consultant for documentary. Different books published. Her proposal for the workshop is a research about “the burden of the past in the “socialist” Orthodox Churches and their future in the EU.
Lejla KARABASIC – Born in 1968, she is living in Sarajevo. Her MA of Economic about “Globalisation and countries in transition” is in progress. Assistant and researcher at the Faculty of Criminal Justice Sciences of Sarajevo and also researcher for the Centre of Security Studies of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Journalist for ODJEK, revue for art, science and culture. Her proposal is a research about Globalisation and State with a special accent on countries in transition.
Katerina KOUTSOYANNAKI – Born in 1970, she is living in Athens. Is actually a PhD candidate in political sciences. The title of her future thesis is « Changing Identities? From the Political to the National Self-Determination, the Case of the Political Refugees from Greece to the People’s Republic of Hungary (1949-1993)”. Member of the Greek delegation in the OSCE’s mission in Albania, Bosnia and Azerbaijan and of the association for the study of ethnicity and nationalism. Her proposal for the workshop is a research about “the construction of the identity of the “homo socialisticus””.
Lev KREFT (speaker) – Professor at the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana.
Centrih LEV – Born in 1979, he is living in Ljubljana. He is actually completing his BA of History and Sociology and is involved in different organisation against militarism, violations of human rights and Slovenian membership in NATO. For the workshop he would like to study the possible capitalist characteristics of so-called socialist societies.
Ilda LONDO – Born in 1978, she is living in Tirana. BA in Political Sciences. She is media researcher at the Albanian Media Institute and is in charge of a project monitoring media landscape in the country. For the workshop she would like to compare and study the artists of the nomenklatura and the artists of the underground.
Françoise MAYER (speaker) – PhD. She teaches at the Faculty of Montpellier (France). She is specialised in the communist period of Czechoslovakia.
Milla MINEVA – Born in 1975, she is living in Sofia. She is actually working on her PhD about the Visual Construction of Everyday Life in Bulgaria (60-90). She is teaching at the University of Sofia and working for a weekly newspaper too. Her purpose for the workshop is a research on the construction of everyday life, based on the analysis of images in newsreels and several magazines.
Sofia MIRCHEVA – Born in 1977, she is living in Plovdiv. MA of Sociology, teacher at the University of Plovdiv. Researcher at the Institute for Critical Social Studies. Her proposal for the workshop is a research on narrator’s text in the weekly newsreels.
Rastko MOCNIK (speaker) – Professor at the Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, member of the international board of directors of the Institute for Critical Social Studies.
Mirjana NASTRAN ULE (speaker) – Professor, director of the postgraduate program “Sociology of Everyday Life” at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana; director of the Centre for Social Psychology and Sociology of Youth.
Nina NIKOLOVA (speaker) – Deputy director of the Institute for Critical Social Studies, lecturer at the Department of Ethnology and Sociology at the Paissiy Hilendarski University of Plovdiv.
Svetlana PAUNOVA – Born in 1978, she is living in Plovdiv. MA of Historical Sociology of Socialism about « Septemvriiche », a socialist pioneer organisation. Teacher at the University of Plovdiv and researcher at the Institute for Critical Social Studies. Her proposal for the workshop is a research about “the socialism in Czechoslovakia according to the social analysis of Ivo Mozny and the prose of Milan Kundera.”
Todor PETKOV (speaker) – Scientific secretary of the Institute for Critical Social Studies, lecturer at the Department of Ethnology and Sociology at the Paissiy Hilendarski University of Plovdiv.
Ozren PUPOVAC– Born in 1977, he is living in London. MA in Culture and Society from the Central European University of Warsaw. PhD of Sociology in progress about “Discursive Construction of Croatian National Identity”. Project co-ordinator of the South East European Sociology Students Association. His proposal for the workshop is a research about the representation of political identity(ies) in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Andrey RAYCHEV (speaker) – Director of BBSS GALLUP International, member of the Institute for Critical Social Studies, lecturer at the Department of Ethnology and Sociology at the Paissiy Hilendarski University of Plovdiv.
Tanja RENER (speaker) – Associate professor at the Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana.
Nebojsa SAVIJA-VALHA – Born in 1964, he is living in Sarajevo. MA of Philosophy and Sociology in progress. Full time employed at the Nansen Dialogue Centre of Sarajevo and involved in an NGO and in the Jazz Festival of Sarajevo. His proposal for the workshop is a research about “Raja”; survival strategy or social oppression?
Mitko STAMATOV – Born in 1978, he is living in Plovdiv. MA of Historical Sociology of Socialism. Journalist at the University of Plovdiv. Researcher at the Institute for Critical Social Studies. His proposal for the workshop is to study the weekly newsreels as serial data, and to focus especially on body and clothes.
Eugen STANCU – Born in 1978, he is living in Budapest. Is actually working on his thesis about Politics and Science Fiction Literature in Communist Romania (1955-1989). His proposal for the workshop is a research about Socialist Education (on a large sense) through the case of Communist Romania.
Ugo VLAISAVLJEVIC (speaker) – Professor at the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Sarajevo.
Alexandar ZISTAKIS - Born in 1961, he is living in Athens. PhD of Philosophy about “Liberty, Individuality, Collectivity and the philosophical Founding of Democracy”. He is also a teacher and researcher at the University of Belgrade and Athens. His proposal for the workshop is a research about “the formation and the logistics of perception in a transforming world”.
TRANSEUROPEENNES/RCE, Paris, France, is an independant non-governmental organization and an international review of critical thought acting since 1994 in the Balkans and 1995 in the Mediterranean area. It aims at promoting and spreading the democratic and transcultural dialogue through intellectuals, professors, journalists, students, NGO activists, opinion multipliers, in fields related to the social and political sciences, international relations, arts, culture and the media. This workshop is organized in the framework of Transeuropeennes’ programme “Taking Action After the War : Democracy Building and the Challenge of Differences in South-East Europe” and its component “Democratisation and Knowledge”. General Director : Ghislaine GLASSON DESCHAUMES ; Programme Manager : Christophe INGELS ; Project Coordinator : Suzana DUKIC ; Assistant Project Coordinator : Olivier ROBERT ; Administrator : Lisa TICHANE.
University of Ljubljana, The Faculty of Social Sciences. The Faculty of Social Sciences is one of the biggest members of the University of Ljubljana, formed in 1961. Long tradition of developing and improving the whole programs is shown in qualitative and research based interdisciplinary programs. More than 20 undergraduate and postgraduate educational programs are offered withing the field of communication science, political science, sociology and cultural studies. The Faculty consist of four departments: Department of Sociology, Department of Political Science, Department of Communication Science and Department of Cultural Studies. Dean : Igor LUKSIC ; Professor : Rastko MOCNIK ; Office of International Cooperation : Neli DIMC.
Paisii Hilendarski University of Plovdiv - The Institute for Critical Social Studies. The Institute for Critical Social Studies was founded as a division of the Critique & Humanism Association in 1991 by researchers in reflexive sociology, critical theory and philosophical logic. The Institute is the visible body of an “invisible colllege” which in the early 80s, set out the renew Bulgarian human sciences. Director : Deyan DEYANOV.
Scientific coordination : Rastko MOCNIK, Deyan DEYANOV.
Workshop coordination : Christophe INGELS.