2nd edition, Sibiu, May 18-19, 2018
organised by the
Universitatea „Lucian Blaga” din Sibiu
Centrul de studii lingvistice, literare şi culturale (CSLLC)
Facultatea de Litere și Arte,
Departamentul de Studii Romanice
Main subject: Instances of Power and Cultural Discourse
In the context of today’s social, political and economic changes, power is one of the governing principles of culture. Power comes in many shapes and sizes and it manifests itself under various forms: it can be tyrannical or a combination of forces (Foucault); it can be charismatic, traditional and rational (Weber) or the opposite – manipulative; it can also appear as a system of diluted forces that spring from the “social field” (Bourdieu); it can remain in the unconscious or it can manifest itself in the speech act. However it may appear, it has become clear that power shapes the course of the creation, interpretation and analysis of literary texts and other cultural products.
More than once, the 19th and 20th centuries have witnessed power exerting itself in the evolution of culture. At the same time, there were several moments of resistance against the enforcement of various ideas and the causing of suffering by the authority/rationality dichotomy. In addition to this, there is a dynamic of the power of the writing act that also works based on a dichotomic principle, such as victim vs. executioner, poor vs. rich, feminine vs. masculine, rural vs. urban, slave vs. master, profane vs. sacred, sense vs. sensibility and so forth. In the recent years, there has been a discussion about the position of power that an author can hold through the texts that he or she writes, about the radius of such a strong nucleus. Our aim is to observe in what way the analysis of the concept of power and of the type of discourse it generates can result in comments upon the nature of cultural networks, linguistic relations or the interpretation of literary texts if we take into consideration both the position of power that the reader possesses and the authority of the author. Taking these hypotheses as a starting point, we believe that we can have a better understanding of the place that the Romanian culture occupies in the context of European culture by borrowing tools from the field of postcolonial studies (methods that focus on observing the relationship between the colonized and the colonizers), from the methodology of world-systems analysis (that focuses on the power of the centre over the peripheries and also on the resistance of these peripheries against the dominance of the centre) and also from the fields of cognitive studies or cyber-mythology. Is it possible to have a new perspective on culture? Can culture be redefined through the analysis of the discourse of power? Our conference aims to explore both these aspects and other points of view that emerge from this plethora of theoretical instruments. We encourage the attendance of both professors and researchers or PhD candidates.