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Ethnicity, identity and branding in post-communist Romania.

Dolea, A. E and Suciu, A., 2024. Ethnicity, identity and branding in post-communist Romania. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication. (In Press)

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Dolea Suciu_Ethnicity Identity Branding in PostCommunist Romania.pdf - Accepted Version
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DOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190228613.013.ORE_COM-01332.R2


Among the Eastern European nations, Romania experienced one of the harshest forms of Communism that imposed an ethnically homogenous nation and gradually cut the nation off from the rest of the world. The violent revolution to overthrow the Communist regime in December 1989 was widely covered by the international news media and foreign correspondents who came to report from the ground: moving images of a backward, poor country, with disabled children abandoned in orphanages, made headlines at the time. They have shaped the first representations of post-communist Romania in the West, generating in turn outrage and heated debates within Romanian society over the negative stereotypical image of the nation thus projected to global audiences. Competing discourses over what is representative for the Romanian nation and how it should be promoted abroad have been recurring since then in the institutional, media, commercial and cultural public spheres. Romania’s relationship with the West has been, and continues to be, discussed particularly along the lines of how ‘others’ (in the West) perceive and evaluate the nation. NATO and EU membership in 2004 and 2007 respectively have been constructed as symbolic victories, legitimizing the democratic transition of the nation, while its progress has constantly been evaluated in comparison with its neighbours. These have been part of nation-building efforts aimed at constructing a certain relation of difference between Romania and the other Eastern European post-communist nations. They have added to the ongoing self-reflective identity efforts that have also included facing and dealing with uncomfortable aspects in recent history, such as ethnic homogenization, discrimination and oppression of minorities – aspects that were hidden before and during Communism and have been marginally discussed after the fall of Communism. These debates and competing discourses have influenced Romanians’ representations and perceptions of self, ‘others’, and their own recent history, amplifying their emotions of pride, inferiority complex, or shame at ‘belonging’ to this nation and this Balkan, or Eastern European, space. The negative image of Romania has often been discussed in terms of who is to blame for generating such negative representations. Initially, it was the Communists and the horrors of their regime. Then, it was the foreign media that, every now and then, subjected Romania to negative media campaigns. More recently, it has been the politicians, sometimes the West, the millions of Romanian migrants and, especially, the Roma migrants. Romania’s post-communist development has been constantly evaluated through the ‘eyes’ of the West and the imperative of a better nation branding has been turned into a dominant discourse. Since the fall of Ceausescu, Romania’s negative image that needs to be corrected, the tensions between Romanians' (self) representations and perceptions of ‘others’, and the constant identity negotiations after 45 years of harsh Communism have been intertwined public issues and are to date recurring in public debates.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:ethnic identity; national identity; nation branding; post-communist Romania; discourse; Roma stereotypes; media representations; race and ethnicity communication; cinematic representations; nationalism; cultural debates; nation promotion
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:39468
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:14 Feb 2024 14:37
Last Modified:14 Feb 2024 14:37


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