History of Communism in Europe

Volume 10, 2019

"Mister Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

Andreea Cârstea
Pages 91-118

Fighting “The Ghosts of the Past”. Communism and Lustration as Key Topics of the First Romanian Electoral Debate (May 17, 1990) – A Review of Context and Discourse –

The general perception regarding the political discourse produced in Romania after 1989 is that the actors (politicians, media, and the public) prioritized a number of themes, which, in spite of their circumstantial dimensions, tended to become strongly established topics. From this perspective, transitional politics became a discursive locus for a number of issues, the actors repeatedly returning to the same ‘well‑worn roads’. Using as corpus samples of discourse from the first electoral campaign post‑1989, the study analyses if and how the controversial theme of the recent historical legacies became a crucial topic during that interval, investigating the main approaches used by the actors and discussing whether or not these settled the frame of interpretation for the following interval. The paper draws on critical and historical discourse analysis, interpreting discourse as both text and context, language and action, discursive event and social situation. It represents an analysis of a topic that, over the years, has become a thematic keystone in political discourse.