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Sociologists and the transformation of the peasantry in Romania, 1925-1940

Musat, R.; (2011) Sociologists and the transformation of the peasantry in Romania, 1925-1940. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This thesis examines the role of sociology in producing visions of rural transformation in interwar Romania. Focusing on the Bucharest School of Sociology, led by Dimitrie Gusti, whose studies in many ways shaped broader academic, social, and political views of the peasantry, it traces the establishment of the discipline as a reputable source of knowledge about the countryside and examines the ways in which sociologists conceptualised and sought to influence the ongoing transformation of rural Romania. The theme of transformation therefore runs through the various stages in the production of sociological knowledge, from the encounter between sociologists and the peasantry, to the intellectual debates over their findings, and to the various blueprints for rural transformation the School produced, considering how sociology shaped and was in turn shaped by its relationship with both the rural world and the state. It explores the constant shift between the lament over social and cultural change in the countryside and the desire to manage its modernisation scientifically. Examining the Bucharest School of Sociology challenges existing conceptual divisions used to understand the politics of interwar Romania. The thesis argues that the School's ethos drew in intellectuals of both the right and the left, all of whom believed that scientific knowledge harnessed to the power of the state was the only solution to Romania's 'agrarian question'. Moreover, this study makes an important contribution to the existing literature on the role of social sciences in state-building and modernisation processes by placing Romanian sociology in a wider interwar intellectual effort of finding the perfect balance between rurality and modernity. It complements and casts new light on studies concentrating mainly on Western states, colonial regimes and the Soviet Union, by looking at how the intellectuals of an independent agrarian state sought to aid its modernisation and integration into the world capitalist system. Finally, it uncovers issues that are very relevant for current debates about the fate of the peasantry in developing countries.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Sociologists and the transformation of the peasantry in Romania, 1925-1940
Language:English
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > SSEES (School of Slavonic and East European Studies)

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