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1 / 2014
The Sociological School of Bucharest between Apogee and Suppression
1939 marks the apogee of the Sociological School of Bucharest, led by Dimitrie Gusti. The School has published a proeminent and innovative Encyclopedia of Romania in four volumes, it has initiated a Museum of the Romanian Village and Gusti has functioned as Commissary General for the Romanian Pavilions at the Universal Expositions in Paris and New York. The Romanian Social Institute has become the nucleus of a federation of 50 institutions under the global name of Romania’s Institute for Social Research. The Royal Foundations, also directed by Gusti, send student teams that combine social research with concrete action in various villages and towns of Romania. Bucharest has been chosen to host the XIVth International Congress of Sociology and, to this effect, the extensive monographs initiated by Gusti in Nerej (1927) and Drăguş (1929, 1932) are in the process of being finalized and published with respectively H. H. Stahl and Traian Herseni as coordinators. A typological series in five volumes entitled Sixty Romanian Villages, coordinated by Anton Golopentia and D. C. Georgescu, and a new monograph of the village of Clopotiva are in the making, as well as a volume assembling all the questionnaires developed by members of the monographic teams along the years and a Bibliography of the Romanian Village. The communications sent to the organizing committee are published in five volumes (with a plan for five additional ones after the Congress). Over one hundred Romanian communications are in preparation. And then, all of a sudden, the war leads to the postponement of the Congress (first for the Spring of 1940 and later on sine die) while Romania’s Institute for Social Research has to return to the initial format of the Romanian Social Institute. After a brief interlude during which D. Gusti, is President of the Romanian Academy for a while and travels to New York to present a project for an International Social Institute first to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations and later on to colleague sociologists from Columbia University, the postwar installation of the communist regime will ban sociology from universities and schools and suppress the Romanian Social Institute. Some of the School’s members will be arrested. In 1950, despite organizer’s Corrado Gini insistent and repeated invitations, Gusti will not be allowed to participate in the XIVth International Congress of Sociology finally held in Rome. Derealized, the Congress that had mobilized the efforts and energies of the Bucharest School during two long years does no more have a numerical designation. The last years of D. Gusti are chronicled in A. Golopenţia’s letter exchanges (with Philip Mosely as well as with a former student in Sociology now member of the nomenklatura, Miron Constantinescu) and in prison declarations.
Keywords: Sociological School of Bucharest, Romania’s Instit