The exceptionalism of Romanian socialist television and its implications

  • Alexandru Matei “Ovidius” University of Constanţa
  • Annemarie Sorescu- Marinković Institute for Balkan Studies
Słowa kluczowe: socjalistyczne studia nad telewizją, Rumunia, telewizje narodowe


During recent years, the study of European televisions has rediscovered socialist television, and we have witnessed a rapid rise in scholarly interest in a new field of research: socialist television studies. On the whole, this recent body of literaturę presents two main new insights as compared to previous studies in the field of the history of Western television: on the one hand, it shows that European television during the Cold War was less heterogeneous than one may imagine when considering the political, economic and ideological split created by the Iron Curtain; on the other hand, it turns to and capitalizes on archives, mostly video, which have been inaccessible to the public. The interactions between Western and socialist mass culture are highlighted mainly with respect to the most popular TV programs: fiction and entertainment.

The authors give us an extraordinary landscape of the Romanian socialist television. Unique in the Eastern part of Europe is the period of the early 1990s. Upon the fall of the communist regime, after almost 15 years of freezing, TVR found itself unable to move forward.


Andrei, Ştefan, Betea, Lavinia 2011. I se spunea Machiavelli. Bucureşti: Adevărul.

Badenoch, Alexander, Fickers, Andreas, Henrich-Franke, Christian (eds.) 2013. Airy Curtains in the European Ether. Broadcasting and the Cold War. Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft.

Baghiu, Ştefan 2016. “Translating Novels in Romania: The Age of Socialist Realism”. Studia UBB Philologia, LXI/1, pp. 5–18.

Ban, Cornel 2012. Dependenţă şi dezvoltare. Economia politică a capitalismului românesc. Cluj-Napoca: Tact.

Boia, Lucian 2013. De ce este România altfel? Bucureşti: Humanitas.

Boia, Lucian 2016. Strania istorie a comunismului românesc (şi nefericitele ei consecinţe). Bucureşti: Humanitas.

Bourdon, Jerome 2011. Du service public à la téléréalité. Paris: INA.

Bönker, Kirsten, Obertreis, Julia, Grampp, Sven (eds.) 2016. Television Beyond and Across the Iron Curtain. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Bren, Paulina 2010. The Greengrocer and His TV. The Culture of Communism after the 1968 Prague Spring. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.

Burakowski, Adam 2011. Dictatura lui Nicolae Ceauşescu (1965-1989). Geniul Carpaţilor. Bucureşti: Polirom.

Butoi, Ionuţ 2017. „Epocalismul interbelic sau despre un mit bipolar”. In: Mihăilescu, Vintilă (ed.). De ce este România astfel? Avatarurile excepţionalismului românesc. Iaşi: Polirom, pp. 199–210.

Câmpeanu, Pavel 1979. Oamenii şi televiziunea. Bucureşti: Meridiane.

Cioroianu, Adrian 2004. Ce Ceausescu qui hante les Roumains. Le mythe, les représentations et le culte du Dirigeant dans la Roumanie communiste. Bucureşti: Curtea Veche Publishing, AUF.

Cioroianu, Adrian 2010. „Acel Ceauşescu pe care l-am creat (despre o fascinantă – şi păgubitoare – „industrie a elogiului”)”. Geopolitikon, 16 March 2010, (retrieved 24 January 2017).

Crowther, William 1988. The Political Economy of Romanian Socialism. New York. Praeger.

Crump, Laurien 2015. The Warsaw Pact Reconsidered. International Relations in Eastern Europe, 1955-1969. London: Routledge.

Drace-Francis, Alex 2016. Geneza culturii române moderne. Instituţiile scrisului şi dezvoltarea identităţii naţionale, 1700-1900. Iaşi: Polirom.

Durandin, Catherine 1990. Nicolae Ceausescu. Vérités et mensonges d’un roi communiste. Paris: Albin Michel.

Evans, Christine Elaine 2016. Between Truth and Time - A History of Soviet Central Television. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Fickers, Andreas 2010. “The techno-politics of colour: Britain and the European struggle for a colour television standard”. Journal of British Cinema and Television, 7/1, pp. 95–114.

Goddard, Peter (ed.) 2013. Uncertain Entertainment: Popular television in authoritarian Europe. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press.

Grdešić, Marko 2014. “Television and protest in East Germany’s revolution, 1989-1990: A mixed-methods analysis”. Communist and Post-Communist Studies, 47(1), pp. 93–103.

Gumbert, Heather 2014. Envisioning Socialism: Television and the Cold War in the German Democratic Republic. University of Michigan Press.

Idrizi, Idrit 2016. “«Magic Apparatus» and «Window to the Foreign World»? The Impact of Television and Foreign Broadcasts on Society and State-Society Relations in Socialist Albania”. In: Bönker, Kirsten, Obertreis, Julia, Grampp, Sven (eds.). Television Beyond and Across the Iron Curtain. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 227–256.

Imre, Anikó 2016. TV Socialism. Duke University Press: Durham and London.

Ivanova, Polya 2005. Parva Programa-Kanal 1 na BNT (1959-2000) / First Program-Channel 1 of BNT (1959-2000). Sofia: Sofia University Publishing.

Ivanova, Polya 2006. Vtora Programa Efir 2 na BNT: 1975-2000 / Second Channel of BNT: 1975-2000. Sofia: Sofia University Publishing.

Ivanova, Polya 2007. Balgarskata televizia 1959-1990: Hristomatia po istoria na televiziata v Balgaria. Sofia: “Kliment Ohridski” University Publishing House.

Kern, Holger Lutz, Hainmueller, Jens 2009. “Opium for the Masses: How Foreign Media Can Stabilize Authoritarian Regimes”. Political Analysis, 17, pp. 377–399.

Lepp, Annika, Pantti, Mervi 2012. “Window to the West. Memories of watching Finnish television in Estonia during the Soviet period”. VIEW, 3(2), pp. 76–86.

Marin, Manuela 2016. Nicolae Ceauşescu: omul şi cultul. Târgovişte: Cetatea de Scaun.

Marinos, Martin 2016. “New Media, New Habits: Socialist Television and the Struggle for ‘Harmonious Consumption’ in 1960s Bulgaria”. Digital Icons. Studies in Russian, Eurasian and Central European New Media, uploads/2016/10/DI15_3_Marinos.pdf (retrieved 2 July 2017).

Matei, Alexandru 2012. „Clara Mareş, Tudor Vornicu şi cum se scrie istoria”. Observator cultural, nr. 623, (retrieved 4 March 2017).

Matei, Alexandru 2013. O tribună captivantă. Televiziune, ideologie, societate în România socialistă (1965-1983). Bucureşti: Curtea Veche.

Matei, Alexandru 2014. “Convergences culturelles et politiques de la télévision publique en France et en Roumanie à l’époque du «dégel»”. In: Vainovski-Mihai, Irina (ed.). New Europe College Ştefan Odobleja Program Yearbook 2013-2014, pp. 225–247, (retrieved 22 July 2017).

Matei, Alexandru 2017. “«Peripherie» et «semi-périphérie», du système de l’économiemonde a l’histoire de la télévision”. Revue Roumaine de Philosophie, 61/1, pp. 203–212.

Mihăilescu, Vintilă (ed.) 2017. De ce este România astfel? Avatarurile excepţionalismului românesc. Iaşi: Polirom.

Mihelj, Sabina 2011. “Negotiating Cold War Culture at the Crossroads of East and West: Uplifting the Working People, Entertaining the Masses, in Cultivating the Nation”. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 53(3), pp. 509–539.

Mihelj, Sabina 2014. “Understanding Socialist Television: Concepts, Objects, Methods”. VIEW: Journal of European Television, History and Culture, 3 (5), pp. 7–16.

Mihelj, Sabina 2017. “Memory, post-socialism and the media: Nostalgia and beyond”. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 20(3), pp. 235–251.

Murgescu, Bogdan 2010. România şi Europa. Acumularea decalajelor economice (1500-2010). Iaşi: Polirom.

Mustata, Dana 2012a. “«The Revolution Has Been Televised…». Television as Historical Agent in the Romanian Revolution”. Journal of Modern European History, 10/1, pp. 76–97.

Mustata, Dana 2012b. “Television in the Age of (Post)Communism: The Case of Romania”. Journal of Popular Film and Television, 40/3, pp. 131–140.

Mustata, Dana 2013a. “Re-staging the popular: Televising Nicolae Ceauşescu”. In: Goddard, Peter (ed.). Popular television in authoritarian Europe. Manchester University Press: Manchester and New York, pp. 107–123.

Mustata, Dana 2013b. “Clandestine Radio and Television Reception in Romania”. In: Badenoch, Alexander, Fickers, Andreas, Henrich-Franke, Christian (eds.), Airy curtains in the European Ether. Broadcasting and the Cold War, Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, pp. 151–179.

Naumescu, Valentin 2017. „La marginea imperiilor, la intersecţia lumilor. Un exceptionalism geopolitic românesc?”. In: Mihăilescu, Vintilă (ed.). De ce este România astfel? Avatarurile excepţionalismului românesc. Iaşi: Polirom, pp. 72–89.

Nordenstreng, Kaarle, Varis, Tapio 1974. Television traffic – a one-way street? A survey and analysis of the international flow of television programme material. No.70. Paris: UNESCO, (retrieved 1 June 2017).

Preutu, Cristina 2014. „Premise şi direcţii ale dezvoltării Televiziunii Române în anii‘70”. Analele Ştiinţifice ale Universităţii „Alexandru Ioan Cuza” din Iaşi, s.n., Istorie, LX, pp. 697–708.

Roth-Ey, Kristin 2011. Moscow Prime Time: How the Soviet Union Built the Media Empire that Lost the Cultural World War. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Sorescu-Marinković, Annemarie 2011. “Serbian Language Acquisition in Communist Romania”. Balcanica, XLI (2010), pp. 7–31.

Sorescu-Marinković, Annemarie 2012. “The World through the TV Screen. Everyday Life under Communism on the Western Romanian Border”. Martor – The Museum of the Romanian Peasant Anthropology Review 17, pp. 173–187.

Tismăneanu, Vladimir 1988. The crisis of Marxist ideology in Eastern Europe: the poverty of Utopia. London; New York; Routledge.

Tismăneanu, Vladimir 2012. “What Was National Stalinism?”. In: Stone, Dan (ed.). The Oxford Handbook of Postwar European History. Oxford University Press, pp. 462–479.

Urdea Alexandra 2014. “Folklore Music on Romanian TV. From State Socialist Television To Private Channels”. VIEW. Journal of European Television History and Culture, 3(5), pp. 35–49.

Vučetić, Radina 2012. Koka-kola socijalizam. Amerikanizacija jugoslovenske popularne kulture šezdesetih godina XX veka. Beograd: Službeni glasnik.

Wallerstein, Immanuel Maurice 2004. World-systems analysis: An introduction. Duke University Press.

Williams, Raymond 2003 [1974]. Television. Technology and Cultural Form. London, New York. Routledge.

Jak cytować
Matei, A., & Sorescu- Marinković, A. (2018). The exceptionalism of Romanian socialist television and its implications. Panoptikum, (20), 168-192.