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How do we conceptualize and theorize about the social organization of ideology? How should we think methodically—in theoretically and empirically informed ways—about the institutionalization of indoctrination and propaganda? How should we approach the study of the social and political instrumentation of ideology in regimes that assume that historical missions of messianic social change are the stringent organizing and legitimization principles of their very existence? This book is an attempt to answer these questions.
On the one hand, this book explores key elements of conceptualization and theoretical framing of the phenomena associated with the institutionalization of indoctrination. New potential venues of theoretical elaboration are identified, and in several cases, these venues are tentatively engaged. On the other hand, this book balances the exploratory theoretical approach with an exploratory historical investigation. Concentrating on the case study of Communist Romania, this book charts various facets of the institutionalization of the “political-ideological commissars” in the education system, while tracking their evolution. The two dimensions of the book offer, in conjunction, a contribution to our understanding of the institutional arrangements of indoctrination and their associated social monitoring and control practices, as well as to our awareness regarding their avatars, as manifested in recent history.