Dissertation Title:

Re-Visiting Communism in România from a Depth Psychological Perspective


Mădălina Borteș

Date, Time & Place:

October 17, 2022 at 10:00 am


This dissertation study engages the lived experience of communism in România from a depth psychological perspective that is additionally informed by somatic studies. This research takes as its start twenty-two oral history interviews conducted with individuals who lived through communism’s routines and who experienced them as ordinary and “everlasting”—a finding conceptualized by Yurchak’s (2006) dialectical analysis of communism in the Soviet Union. In this study, I investigate the psychosomatic mechanisms making such a lived experience possible. Specifically, I ask: How and why did it become possible for the lived experience of communism to seem genuinely normal and everlasting in România? To answer this question, I consider the historical, cultural, economic, and psychosomatic factors affecting individuals’ lived experiences. Thereafter, I organize the twenty-two oral history narratives into one composite interview that maintains fidelity to the rhythms, concerns, and patterns expressed by each individual. Lastly, I employ historian J. G. Droysen’s four dimensions of historical understanding (ethical, material, psychological, collective) to the most prevalent phrase offered by interviewees in response to my questions regarding the routines and peculiarities prevalent throughout the communist era: “that is all we knew, no one thought anything of it.” In essence, this study seeks to flesh out the context and subtext of that oft-invoked phrase.

  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psychology Emphasis in Somatic Studies, S, 2016
  • Chair: Dr. Mary Watkins
  • Reader: Dr. Shelly Graham
  • External Reader: Dr. Anca Pusca
  • Keywords: Communism, România, Psychosocial, Psychological Adaptability