The Institutionalization of Cultural Imagination
I believe it is a mistake to write off hope for a democratic alternative to totalitarianism of the left and the right. Antitotalitarianism has been a long-time component of cultural life in East-Central Europe, clearly in Poland and Hungary, but also elsewhere in the region. And such activity has been produced and reproduced within the very structures it opposed. In film, music, theater and literature, in the social sciences and the humanities, in the universities and in unofficial seminars, alternative understandings of art and science, politics and religion, society and history and their relationships, were formulated and made public. While a totalitarian culture organized public life, an antitotalitarian culture emerged and developed against totalitarian domination. Embedded within existing totalitarian arrangements were the cultural seeds of their own destruction.
The central point is this: While much of the pre-Sovietized political culture in East Europe, and all of the totalitarian culture, may have