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      Capitalist Heterotopia & Lost Social Utopia: Documenting Class, Work, and Migration in Post-Communist East-Central European Fiction

      research-article
      a , b
      Central Europe
      Routledge
      Romanian novel, migration, narration of displacement, capitalist realism, post-socialist realism, documentary realism

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          ABSTRACT

          Some of the most acclaimed novels from post-communist countries deal with communism through an anti-communist ethos. The emerging international canon of post-communist representations of communism and transition to capitalism has always sought to enfoce a convincing anti-communist ideal. Writers have only recently formulated critiques of the post-communist transition through what Boris Buden describes as post-communist cultures without social utopias. Those novels are not rooted in anti-communism but rather criticize the death of utopias following the fall of communism. Drawing on the Romanian case, we try to outline the heterotopias of capitalism in post-communism from the standpoint of novels on migration and work abroad, addressing contemporary understandings of capitalist realism, post-socialist realism, autofiction, and documented realism. Analysing novels by Liliana Nechit, Mihai Buzea, and Adrian Schiop, we reveal the subjective nature of the testimonial literature on migration and contrast it to the need to incorporate workers’ agency into this literary process. While the description of Eastern European capitalism through novels about migration has become an indictment of communism and a subtle plea for a ‘better’ form of capitalism, the novels about internal migration recover a lost social utopia that ended with the 1989 collapse of Romanian communism.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Cent Eur
          Cent Eur
          Central Europe
          Routledge
          1479-0963
          1745-8218
          4 January 2024
          2024
          4 January 2024
          : 22
          : 1
          : 2-17
          Affiliations
          [a ]Department for Romance Studies, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu; , Sibiu, Romania
          [b ]Department for Anglo-American and German Studies, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu; , Sibiu, Romania
          Author notes
          CONTACT Stefan Baghiu stefan.baghiu@ 123456ulbsibiu.ro Department for Romance Studies, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu; , 5-7 Victoriei Blvd., Sibiu 550024, Romania
          Article
          2294424
          10.1080/14790963.2024.2294424
          11078109
          38721388
          369b8910-7a9e-4562-ab90-1d41695a9bfa
          © 2024 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

          This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.

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          Page count
          Figures: 0, Pages: 16
          Categories
          Research Article
          Research Article

          romanian novel,migration,narration of displacement,capitalist realism,post-socialist realism,documentary realism

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