Academia in Upheaval: Origins, Transfers, and Transformations of the Communist Academic Regime in Russia and East Central Europe

By Michael David-Fox; György Péteri | Go to book overview

Chapter 7
Science between Two Worlds: Foreign "Models" and Hungary's Academia, 1945-1949

György Péteri

As other chapters of this book have convincingly shown, neither the creators of the Soviet prototype of the late 1920s and early 1930s nor East Central Europe's communist policy makers after 1945 had a "model" in the sense of a master plan in their minds while they formed and reformed, in accordance with the perceived needs of communist power, what was described as "Soviet science" in their respective countries. 1 What the Communists pursued in the academic field were, indeed, a number of interrelated but conflicting agendas, the scope of which transcended the borders of academia per se. These included objectives of modernization (and postwar reconstruction); the campaigns of social promotion pursued, among others, in the form of "democratization" or "proletarianization" of higher education (the transformation of the social composition of both the professoriate and the student body); and the systematic efforts to assert a monopoly or, at least, a hegemonic position for Marxism-- Leninism in the academic field as a Weltanschauung and philosophical/epistemological foundation for the scientific enterprise.

These objectives and agendas, however, were pursued in a number of historically contingent ways and with a corresponding variation in terms of the results. What was common throughout the socialist camp and the various phases of the biography of state socialism was the way in which conflicts between the different agendas and objectives translated into conflicts between different bureaucratic

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