From Legal Classicism to Political Romanticism
A political resolution adopted by the Hungarian Parliament in 2020 April declared that the Fundamental Law of Hungary started a new era and terminated the so-called ’post-communist’ period of the country. This earlier period can be labelled as the era of liberal constitutionalism or that of the Rawlsian neutral state or that of ’legal classicism’. The first characteristic of this period was the primacy of the law and the judicalisation of the politics where the judicial bodies – and most importantly the Constitutional Court – played a significant role. Secondly, the mimetics of the ’good practices’ and institutional solutions of the Western legal cultures has to be mentioned. Accordingly, the main source of political legitimacy was thought to be the integration to the West while the main political enemy was an internal one: the former communist heritage was to be overcome. This process was to be done by way of modernising the legal system, based on the rule of law. After 2010, however, the era of legal classicism seems to be followed by a romantic spirit. A new paradigm has risen within the public sphere: the primacy of the politics that aims to constrain the previously dominant judicial actors in the name of popular will. Clear normative traces of the new tendency are the repeal of the former case law of the Constitutional Court and the instrumental usage of law and constitution amendments that lead to the politicization of law. Parallel to these, a strong constitutional identity-based discourse has appeared that aims to protect Hungary as a nation state within the European integration. In addition, this process is surrounded by a significant discourse on the criticism of juristocracy and elitism that seems to be a suitable narrative also for the criticism of the European integration that is in itself a legal construction of the Member States’ elites. Accordingly, European integration gained negative connotations as becoming a new external threat capable of endangering the survival of the nation and its real values, while the main source of political legitimation shifted from the Western liberal model to the revival of the nation and the idea of the historic constitution. Based on these observations, my goal is to study the main legal discourses accompanying this paradigmatic change and its evolution through the series of constitutional amendments.
Psychotherapy, Spirituality and the Inner Self: Post-secular Subjectivities among the Romanian Middle Class
This research project focuses on the emergence of spiritualized forms of psychotherapy and self-help psychologies that have become an important component of the booming industry of personal and spiritual growth in Romania and throughout Western and Eastern Europe and aims at analyzing the paradigmatic shift taking place in psychology and in psychotherapeutic practices that are employed in modeling a new form of subjectivity. By drawing on Michel Foucault's, Nikolas Rose's and Charles Taylor's work Gog's research looks at how these emergent psychotherapies are producing bio-political technologies that attempt to governmentalize both old and new capitalist societies. The research is interested in analyzing the way these new spiritual psychotherapies operate and how they generate a new subjective interiority based on self-development and self-realization and on a new understanding of personal authenticity that is becoming increasingly popular, first in Western Europe and gradually in Eastern Europe as well, through academic and professional networks, books, digital media and public lectures and the establishment of new psychological associations.
Peripherality in the European Union: Romania’s Post-Accession Identity Struggles
The project explores post-1989 discourses, genealogies and political-intellectual communities that undergirded the rethinking of peripherality in Romania after EU accession. Its central hypothesis is that the resilience and diversity of domestic discussions about the country’s European incomplete self and its problematic recognition within the EU fuelled an equilibrium that prevented neo-authoritarian hegemony over political and intellectual fields. I examine three interrelated trajectories for identity production: the recent past, democratisation, and Romania in Europe. I argue that the cognitive dissonances amassed along these axes during the first eighteen years after 1989 constitute the foundation for the discursive shifts since 2007. I connect such dynamics of self-representation to social mobilizations from the 2010s to point out (dis)continuities in the fusion between identity and social-political discontent. The project compares Romania’s path to countries where elites positioned themselves as the West or, later, the real Europe (Poland or Hungary), or with those that experienced similarly torturous trajectories to and within the EU (Bulgaria).
Greek in the Early Medieval Balkans, ca.880-1014
My post-doctoral project, entitled Greek in the Early Medieval Balkans 880-1014, will be the first social history of multilingualism in the Balkans and, in particular, of the role and significance of Greek after the late ninth-century arrival of the newly invented Slavonic alphabet. It will argue both that the Balkans were decidedly multilingual, contrary to scholarly consensus, and reveal how medieval multilingualism was manifested and experienced on the ground. This will be carried out through a mixed-method approach using manuscripts and epigraphic monuments, approached not simply as vessels for historical information, but as objects whose materiality is central to the formation of their meaning.
Deserting the Balkan Armies. The Cases of Serbia and Bulgaria (1912–1918)
The phenomenon of desertion during the 20th century conflicts still presents a very strong taboo in the Balkan historiographies. On the other hand, developments in western academia during the past 30 years made it clear that issues of military desertion and insubordination can provide valuable new perspectives. The aim of my project is to assemble and analyse the cases of desertion in the Bulgarian and Serbian army so that these cases can be treated as an analytical category. This way I will be able to reach out towards some of the most discrete processes of the front line developments in the Balkans. Two interlinked examples of Serbia and Bulgaria, the embattled neighbours, would present a significant step toward a more comprehensive understanding of everyday interactions within the two largest Balkan armies. As a result, I expect to show that the front line developments, attitudes and experiences of the men in uniform were much more complex than usually believed and that the “contract” between the state and its citizens during wartime had to be constantly renegotiated even in agrarian societies such as Serbian and Bulgarian one.
Upward Social Mobility in the European New Towns after the Second World War
The research project is a comparative study of social mobility in the new towns, built in the 1950s and early 1960s in Bulgaria, former Czechoslovakia, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. It is a cross-European investigation into how these radical urban development projects, which aimed to improve social advance opportunities, were translated into reality. The research examines the similarities and divergences between East and West on the evolution of gender roles, the tensions between generations, old and new elites, rural and urban groups. After The Second World War new towns emerged across Europe on clear grounds. From the United Kingdom to the countries of the Communist Bloc, states engaged in sweeping projects of new town construction. Driven by pressing problems of urbanisation or urge to exploit natural resources, in almost all cases they were also aiming at boosting social mobility. The social history of these urban projects across have attracted attention - more significant regarding the Eastern Bloc and growing in the West. However the history of social mobility in new towns has never been seriously compared across national borders. The absence of comparative perspectives is somewhat paradoxical, since some parallels stand out clearly from the research in the East and the West. The investigations of these parallels are the research objectives of this project, aiming to discuss comparatively the nature, the effect and the renegotiation of the paradigms for equality, which motivated the new towns’ construction. It enquires if, how and for whom did the new towns provide social mobility in Europe across four division lines, visible from the extant literature: gender social mobility; social mobility between old and new elites, urban-rural social mobility, social mobility and generations.
Funeral Devotional Practices of Monastics in Early Modern Russia
European influence on Russian religious sphere, and particularly on monasticism and monastic practices of Early Modern time if of great interest to historians and philologists. Monastic preaching and practices connected with death preparation, that is writing of testaments and giving donations to churches and monasteries, are a seminal source for study of cultural transfer and ideology. The project is devoted to the study of funeral piety of Russian monastics of the second half of the 17th century in a broader European context. It addresses origins of these practices, the ways in which they were transferred to Russia mainly through Polish culture which served as a mediator, and then adopted by Russian monastics. Drawing on interconnection of various disciplines and directions of research, the project will provide materials and knowledge for building a wider perspective on European cultural transfer that shaped cultural ground in Early Modern Russia.
Unequal Official Multilingualism in the Eastern Part of Dualist Hungary
My research project investigates explicit and implicit state language policies in the eastern part of Dualist Hungary (1867–1918). By sampling the extant fonds in eight county branches of the National Archives of Romania and complementing them with the perusal of the local press and with evidence culled from ego-documents, I have pieced together a coherent picture about the patterns of the official use of Hungarian vs. the non-dominant languages, about the factors influencing these patterns and about the gradual expansion of Hungarian. I will present my results against the benchmark of the 1868 Law of Nationalities and the linguistic rights set forth in it. The fact that later legislation eschewed such questions perpetuated the use of this document as a central reference for the contemporaries, an importance also bequeathed on historiographical treatments of the era. The central part of my work will be divided according to the contemporary domains of the official realm, covered section by section in the law: central government agencies, counties, local governments, the jurisdiction, civil-society documents and notarial acts. Each chapter will be concluded with a comparison with international trends. In addition, an introductory chapter will summarize the expectations, beliefs and historical visions in the background of policy designs and implementations.
The Chaplin Vaccine: Taylorism and Immunization in Early-Soviet Film Theory and Fiction
The project examines immunization through the figure of Charlie Chaplin, which dominated early-Soviet discourses on cinema as a means of promoting healthy work culture for the proletariat. Like vaccination, which was an important tool of managing the masses in a country where health was rapidly re-conceptualised as a state concern, cinema was expected to play an important role in moulding the Soviet worker. The purpose of the project is to explore the theoretical potential of vaccination and immunity, which were employed in literature and film theory of the first decade after the Russian revolution to construct film as a kinaesthetic tool of labour education. Through this apparatus, Chaplin became an unlikely agent of “labour vaccination.” Methodologically, the project is inspired by a relatively recent turn towards the history of biosciences in literary studies and film studies. I argue that Chaplin’s position in Soviet culture acquires unique theoretical significance when seen in conjunction with theories that advocate cinema as a tool of ideological vaccination capable of transmitting knowledge about bodily efficiency and labour optimization. Through an interdisciplinary approach my book and accompanying articles will uncover a largely neglected area of Soviet film and cultural history, showing how earlier constructions of vaccination helps us reconsider current discourses of bio-cultural contagion.
Define the Distinction: Natural History and Society in the Polish Provinces of the Russian Empire, 1790s-1840s.
This project is about discovery of natural history by the educated residents, petty nobility and gentry ( szlachta), in the Volhynian and Podolian provinces of the Russian empire in the late 18th – first third of the 19th century. Following the incorporation of these lands into the administrative structure of the empire, local amateurs unveiled their interest and contemplated the necessity to study the natural world of their provinces. In order to do so, they turned to the well-known works on natural history by the French, German, and Swedish scientists. However, Volhynian and Podolian provincial botanists not only appropriated foreign knowledge but also laid emphasis on promulgation of local natural novelties for the benefit of the world, an emphasis they believed necessary given the social and political reality of their region – the annexation, Napoleon’s presence, and continuous military upheavals. Through discussing practices and agendas of local naturalists in the most western provinces of the Russian empire, the project tackles the problem of (un)equal distribution of knowledge, the problem of the transfer of ideas and their cultural (dis)placement in the long 18th – first third of the 19th century. Examination of scientific pursuits in the Polish provinces also exposes the many (re)presentations of the global Enlightenment in Eastern Europe, uncovering the regional dynamics of this movement through the lens of natural history and science.