The Early Synthesis between Tradition and Modernity. 

The Model from Banat




Carmen Cornelia Balan




Unlike the central areas of capitalism development, where the traditional culture has been sacrificed on the altar of industrial society and the forms of balancing its dehumanising tendencies remained to be elaborated by the mass and the elite culture, at “the border of industrial society”, the traditional culture resisted better. Even more, it has been supported by the progressive intellectuals of the time to create on original synthesis with the cultural innovation, with the modernisation specific to the industrial era.

We catches the semnificant case of this synthesis – the early cultural organic synthesis which was established in its most evaluate form in Banat at the end of the XIX-th century and the beginning of the XX-th century.

The early original synthesis established in Banat is relevant both through the older industrial development and through the concrete social-historical environment that encouraged the appearance of this phenomenon.

Under the powerful political and economical pressure, the area of Banat accumulated, in time, natural adverse reactions and, as they could not take other forms, they migrated to the single accessible field – the cultural one- leading to its stylistic pattern, settled by Lucian Blaga under the generic expression “the baroque of Romanian ethnography”.

This model of early organic synthesis between tradition and modernity has at its basis the absolute opening of the Banat people to technique innovation, to the achievements of the civilisation and the large culture as well as the presence of scholars capable of stimulating  and developing it, by adding a certain type of cultivated creation: the patriotic song, the militant theatre or the culture of Romanians from beyond the borders of empire.

As the famous ethnographer Elena Secosan demonstrates in her works the Banat  “has always known how to discern and give an answer to the great questions, accepting what was to be accepted, rejecting what was to be rejected and always remaining itself” (Secosan E, 1982, mss).

The forms of participating  at the most advanced culture of our time have represented  here – only apparently paradoxically – conditions of rediscovering own values and their consideration from this perspective organic structures are pointed out as result of joining tradition with modernity – peasant journals, peasant writers, peasant theatre, fanfares, chorus – as viable and lasting signs of combination between tradition and modernity. It is thus proved that a tradition that cannot be practised because of the changing of the objective conditions that had created it, cannot manifest itself anymore but under the conditions of a high level of individuals.

Thus formulated the problem of understanding  the place and the role of Banat culture as a part of Romanian culture changes and becomes from paradoxical and particular from picturesque and characteristic, the basic element of some transformations entirely comprehended only in our time. In this context, the cultural experience of Caras ceases to be regional and periphery as, through this first organic synthesis between the traditional culture and the one related to industrial development in our country., its offers a first viable solution, elaborated by the very historical practice, to one of the greatest problems debated by the present theories of the development in the post-industrial age.

For social sciences, this reality is not only paradoxical but a real “theoretic scandal”, it is as if a group of phenomena made exception  from a law that is well-known and long accepted and  that presses the theory and the ultimate generalisations, compelling to a breaking of the previous frames of analysis to the creation of a new paradigm of thinking over the evolution of cultures in the relation to the technique progress.



Selective bibliography


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DRAGAN, Ioan. 1992. Modernizare si dezvoltare. O perspectiva culturologica. Culegere de texte, Bucuresti.

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