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Ion Matei Costinescu, The Shrewd Ecumenicism of the Encyclopedia of Romania: Biopolitics, Ethnic Cooperativism, and the Peasant State

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The Shrewd Ecumenicism of the Encyclopaedia of Romania: Biopolitics, Ethnic Cooperativism, and the Peasant State

The thesis of this article is that The Encyclopaedia of Romania was embedded within, as well as helped to define, a large and shifting biopolitical field of human sciences and governmentality. The cognitive interest of this field resided in searching for a template of national subject-making cum citizenship creation. Crucial to this undertaking was the diagnosis of blockages hindering the transformation of the Romanian peasants, seen irrespective of ideological bent as the putative bearers of “nationhood”, into active political subjects, insofar as, like in any nationalist endeavor, said citizen-subjects were preferred over purely autonomous political agents. I substantiate these arguments by focusing on two contributors to the Encyclopaedia, namely the philosopher Constantin Rădulescu-Motru (1868-1957) and the economist Gromoslav Mladenatz (1891-1958).The cross-disciplinary intersection of Rădulescu-Motru’s philosophy of culture with Mladenatz’s cooperativist ideas makes manifest the biopolitical presuppositions of the intellectual and ideological field structuring the Encyclopaedia of Romania.
Keywords: Encyclopaedia of Romania, biopolitics, Constantin Rădulescu-Motru, Gromoslav Mladenatz, cooperativism,
nationalism, citizenship

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