Special Issue "Communism and Post-memory among Young People in East-Central Europe"

A special issue of Societies (ISSN 2075-4698).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 September 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Remus Cretan
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Geography, West Timisoara University, 300223 Timisoara, Romania
Interests: social inequalities and sustainable development of marginal groups (Gypsy/Roma people); marginalization and stigmatization in disadvantaged urban and rural areas; geographies of protests and social justice; corruption and sustainability; sustainable development and resource exploitation (gold mining, shale gas etc); sustainable energy development (hydropower; renewable energies etc); memory / intergenerational memory and technological development; transitional justice and museum studies; place naming studies; place attachment and sense of belonging
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Duncan Light
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Bournemouth University Business School, Bournemouth University, Fern Barrow, Poole, Dorset, BH12 5BQ, UK
Interests: tourism and transitional justice; tourism and memory; tourism at places of death and suffering; Romania

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

The growth of academic debates on remembering the communist past in East–Central Europe has sparked the interest of many scholars over the last three decades, not only because communism is a locus of nostalgia, but also because communism in this region is often perceived as a repressive system. Post-memory—understood as a relationship that people of subsequent generations bear to the trauma of their forefathers, which they cannot directly remember but rather know through imagery, stories, and behavior—plays an important role in the reproduction of communist memories for the post-communist younger generation. This Special Issue aims to explore the nature of post-memory in East–Central Europe among the younger post-communist generation, as well as the social, cultural, and institutional responses that can counteract them for sustainability goals. Therefore, selected papers in this issue should link post-memory to issues of social and cultural sustainability (including United Nation Sustainable Development Goal no 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions).

The papers will tackle aspects such as: a) the nature and magnitude of post-memory and its relationship with social inequalities in communist times; b) nostalgia for the communist era among those without first-hand experience of it; and c) intergenerational post-communist reshaping of memories. Papers which consider the settings in which post-memory is made and transmitted (such as the home, education, museums and other memorial sites, and a range of other settings) are particularly welcomed.

This Special Issue aims to publish recent advancements in memory studies and novel design methodologies (including both qualitative and quantitative methods) for having an insight into the nature of post-communist memories of the younger generation for communism period. Furthermore, specialized aspects that are relevant to the following topics and others, even if not directly specified, both as case studies or theoretical papers, which cover aspects of post-communist post-memory are welcome.

Prof. Remus Cretan
Dr. Duncan Light
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as conceptual papers are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Societies is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Memories of the communist past
  • Post-communist nostalgia
  • Post-memory
  • Prosthetic memory

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Museums and Transitional Justice: Assessing the Impact of a Memorial Museum on Young People in Post-Communist Romania
Societies 2021, 11(2), 43; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/soc11020043 - 12 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 754
Memorial museums are frequently established within transitional justice projects intended to reckon with recent political violence. They play an important role in enabling young people to understand and remember a period of human rights abuses of which they have no direct experience. This [...] Read more.
Memorial museums are frequently established within transitional justice projects intended to reckon with recent political violence. They play an important role in enabling young people to understand and remember a period of human rights abuses of which they have no direct experience. This paper examines the impact of a memorial museum in Romania which interprets the human rights abuses of the communist period (1947–1989). It uses focus groups with 61 young adults and compares the responses of visitors and non-visitors to assess the impact of the museum on views about the communist past, as well as the role of the museum within post-communist transitional justice. The museum had a limited impact on changing overall perceptions of the communist era but visiting did stimulate reflection on the differences between past and present, and the importance of long-term remembrance; however, these young people were largely skeptical about the museum’s role within broader processes of transitional justice. The paper concludes that it is important to recognize the limits of what memorial museums can achieve, since young people form a range of intergenerational memories about the recent past which a museum is not always able to change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Communism and Post-memory among Young People in East-Central Europe)

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Memorial ambivalences in Romania: Generational attitudes towards the symbolic legacy of communism
Affiliation: Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Romania
Abstract: After the demise of state socialism, public space became an issue of contention that occupied an important place within societies’ efforts to come to terms with the recent past. Extant scholarship documented extensively how post-communist societies in Central and Eastern Europe have reconfigured the public space by removing the symbolic presence of the former regime (e.g., monuments and statues, but also place- and street names). However, there is a scarcity of research done on exploring the reception of these broad changes brought to the public statuary and urban nomenclature. In this study, we aim to contribute to this nascent strand of literature by investigating the generational differences in social attitudes towards the symbolic transformation of public space in post-communist Romania. Data collected through a national web-survey conducted in February 2021 (n=1,156) allow us to determine the various aspects that shape individuals’ attitudes regarding the removal of monuments and the renaming of streets. In addition, we focus on highlighting the factors underpinning the differences observed between the youth and the older generation in this regard. Taking stock of these generational differences contributes to a better understanding of how ordinary people relate to the politics of memory enacted in transforming societies.

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