Romanian Village Halls in the Early 1950s: Between Cultural and Political Propaganda
Village halls [Romanian: cămine culturale] appeared in many Europeancountries and elsewhere as early as the nineteenth century and multiplied in the twentieth.The presence of these institutions in the rural world, despite obvious differences in theirgoals and activities, demonstrates a general interest in the cultural development ofvillages, as well as the emergence and growth of leisure practices amongst peasants. Thisessay is not a study of the history of village halls; rather, it focuses on the changes that thisinstitution underwent in the early years of the communist regime in Romania. It analyseshow communists transformed the village hall into a place of propaganda under theguise of “cultural work”. The study starts from the premise that communist propagandadeliberately did not distinguish between “political work” and “cultural work”. At the endof the 1940s and the beginning of the 1950s, the village hall became the communist regime’scentral venue for disseminating political and cultural propaganda.