15 December 2019

Daniel Dumitran

The proposal for a volume devoted to the topic of solidarities established over time in communities is part of the last years’ tendency of our journal to approach some subjects less debated in the Romanian historiography. This time, the topic of solidarity between communities or, to follow Peter Burke, the topic of social groups’ opposing or concurrent identities,1 took into account three chronological stages: the outlining of the various solidarities in the Middle Ages, the solidarities’ evolution and transformation in pre-modernity and the dissolution and the new types of solidarities in the industrial societies. However, the contributions accepted further to the selection have only covered the second period, the editorial project proposed being thus achieved only in part.

The issue of Neighbourhoods from the Transylvanian Saxon communities, investigated in the ’90s through sociological inquiries initiated by Vintilă Mihăilescu2 is tackled here by Raluca Frîncu who has recently dedicated a valuable doctoral thesis to the issue3 and by Volker Wollmann who has participated, also in the ’90s, to the field research from Sibiu area with regard to the cultural heritage of the Transylvanian Saxons. Both contributions particularly reflect the richness and diversity of the Neighbourhoods’ heritage.

Two other contributions approach case studies from the Polish-Lithuanian historical area. Alessandro Sette investigates the situation of the Jewish communities in the territories integrated in the Tsarist Empire after the separations of Poland, as well as the setting up of the Jews’ residence area (“Pale of Settlement”), insisting on the social-economical incentives for the antisemitism genesis in Russia. Yuryi Stetsyk, Vasyl Ilnytskyi, and Vladislav Boyechko offer a biographic and prosopographic image on the Basilian monastic community in Dobromyl, together with a detailed documentary annex.

With these secquences, the present volume makes an invitation to a more thorough reflection on the past. The communities of yore, especially, but not exclusively, the rural ones, whose present destiny is dramatical, had a much richer history than the convenient model of classical monography allows us to infer. A reconstitution more attentive to details and nuance may yet save what was still preserved from this image.


1. Peter Burke, History and Social Theory (Malden: Polity Press, 2009), 57-60.
2. Vintilă Mihăilescu, coord., Vecini și Vecinătăți în Transilvania [Neighbours and Neighbourhoods in Transylvania] (Bucharest: Paideia, 2003).
3. Raluca Maria Frîncu, Solidarități socio-economice, vecinătăți din sudul Transilvaniei [Social-Economical Solidarities, Neighbourhoods from Southern Transylvania] (Sibiu: Brukenthal National Museum Publishing House, 2018).