Staging the stolen transition: conspiracy and collusion in postsocialist crime fiction
CBEES Advanced Seminar with Anita Pluwak, Postdoctoral Researcher, Tallinn University, and Project-Specific Researcher, CBEES, Södertörn University
Speaker: Anita Pluwak, Postdoctoral Researcher, Tallinn University, and Project-Specific Researcher, CBEES, Södertörn University
Discussant: Tora Lane, Associate Professor in Comparative Literature, and Research Leader, CBEES, Södertörn University
One of postsocialism’s most prominent and persistent conspiracy narratives holds that a secret network of communist-era collaborators and agents has gained control of society: they have manipulated the transition to democracy and market economy so that it serves their egoistic interests. Closely linked to ascendance of national conservative forces and a political mobilization based on symbolic and identity issues, this narrative is a key element in populist rhetoric and a contributing factor to the recent crisis of democratic institutions in the region. Its cultural manifestations, however, remain understudied. This paper explores how the secret postcommunist network is emplotted in three popular crime novels from 2000s’ Poland, a period often framed as a conservative shift in postsocialist politics and society, and a time of increased visibility of the stolen transition narrative. I focus on the content, style and function of the novels’ conspiracy plots, and on the ways in which the notion of a stolen tradition is embedded in broader histories of socialism and postsocialism, incl. histories of everyday life, legitimacy, power and social participation.
The paper contributes to two under-researched areas: popular representation of postsocialist transition and conspiracy articulation in literature.
Key words: postsocialist conspiracy, stolen transition, crime fiction, anticommunism, Poland.
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Meeting ID: 643 4220 8172