Română  English 
Project description
Directions and priorities
Planned results
Research team
Scientific reports

Project description

Identity construction in the modern period is an interdisciplinary research subject. It was mostly cultivated in the United States and in Great Britain by social sciences and historical investigation, but numerous scientists in Germany or France also approached it. The idea that social identities are constructed and that national communities are imagined is an acknowledged fact in the relevant field of study since Benedict Anderson (1983) onwards. But, as László Kürti asserted in The Remote Borderland. Transylvania in the Historical Imagination (2001), just knowing that communities are constructed is not sufficient. It is necessary to analyse exactly how they were imagined, how this process actually worked.

What is missing from the subject’s bibliography is an integrative and comparative approach to identity formation in Transylvania. The mono-ethnic perspective on this topic has not yet been overcome. Most of the existing works are either dedicated to a single Transylvanian ethnic community or reflect only the point of view of a particular historiography (Romanian, Hungarian or German) regarding this issue. Prejudice still impedes on the historiographic discourse, because this province’s past is separately assumed. In spite of the fact that the question concerns more or less the same territory, Romanians, Hungarians and Transylvanian Saxons understand different things by "Transylvania", "Erdély" and "Siebenbürgen", respectively.

For all these reasons, this project proposes a research activity that surpasses the national historiographies’ traditional perspective. It will thoroughly analyse the way in which Transylvanian communities dialogise, polemicise and, eventually, build a common space for performing identitary discourses. In order to achieve this result, all the components that are involved in Transylvania’s identitary rebuilding will be systematically approached: the zonal identities of the province’s geographical and administrative subcomponents (the counties, the "Partium", the territories inhabited by Szeklers and Transylvanian Saxons, the Romanian districts and border regiments), the social identities of the nobiliary, confessional and urban elites, the confessional identities of the main religious communities, the ethnic solidarities pertaining to the peasant’s traditional mentality. The comparative approach seeks to examine the identitary discourses belonging to the three ethnic communities of modern Transylvania (Romanians, Hungarians, Saxons). Furthermore, the complex mechanisms that transform local micro-identities in order to include them in larger constructions (national identities, supranational political loyalties, European symbolic geographies) will be also scrutinised.