Mărginean 2019

The Future Belongs to the Youth: Social Sciences and the Politics of Knowledge Transfers in the 1970s Romania

Mara Mărginean

Article information

Volume: XIII Issue: 2, Pages: 5-24
Mara Mărginean
George Baritiu Institute of History, Romanian Academy, Cluj-Napoca Branch
Mihail Kogălniceanu Street, 12-14, Cluj-Napoca, 400084, Romania


This article analyses the emergence and consolidation of an area of expertise on youth in the late 1960s Romania in order to unveil how a semi-peripheric state understood to employ social sciences to develop. It looks at how scientific knowledge about youth fostered the coagulation of new local epistemic communities and institutional arrangements. It also examines the relevance of this expertise for domestic programs of modernization and how such programs increased the country’s international visibility. Based on a corpus of social sciences texts authored by Western and Eastern European specialists and translated into Romanian since the mid-1960s and on a vast collection of archival sources, my contribution considers three interconnected questions: What were the sources of expertise accepted in Romania? To what extent did knowledge have ideological stakes? How did these transfers adjust the specialists’ visibility in the decision-making processes of the socialist state?

Keywords: youth, knowledge transfers, social science, labour, industrialization



Primary sources

Romanian National Archives (ANIC), fonds: Academia de Stiinte Sociale si Politice, Sectia Sociologie (ASSP-Sociologie); Comitetul Central al Partidului Comunist Roman, Sectia Camcelarie (CC al PCR-Cancelarie).

Archives of the Romanian Ministry of the Exterior (AMAE), fond: Problema 217-United Nations

Archives of the United Nations in Geneve (AUNG), fonds: United Nations Development Programe (UNDP).

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