Rusu [Abstract]

(Hi)story-telling the nation: the narrative construction of Romanianism in the late 19th century [Full text]

Mihai Stelian Rusu  [1]

AbstractThis paper is a study in historical socio-anthropology, focusing on the political process of Romanian nation building and its corresponding anthropological program of creating the national self. Starting from the assumption that human being is a “storytelling animal” nested in a (hi)story-telling community pillared upon “narrative traditions,” this paper examines the stock of stories told through history schoolbooks about the Romanian past as a means of narrative construction of Romanian national identity. Consequently, the paper looks at the nationalizing process launched by Romanian state authorities in the wake of the political union of 1859, arguing that the political building of Romanian nation implied the narrative articulation, followed by the recursive institutional reciting within the public educational system, of a “Romanian master story” as a means of breeding national Romanians out of Orthodox peasants. After detailing the pedagogy of the nation emerged in the second half of the 19th century as establishing the norms of (hi)story-telling the national past, the study concludes by highlighting the main themes, or “schematic narrative templates,” into which the Romanian master story has been poured out.

Keywords: Meta-narrative, narrative traditions, nation building, Romanian master story, Romanian nationalism

[1] Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj, Romania,