New Publication: Water Dreams and Water Spaces in State Socialism (Wasserträume und Wasserräume im Staatssozialismus)
“Water Dreams and Water Spaces in State Socialism. An Environmental History Comparison Based on Czechoslovak and Romanian Water Management 1948-1989” (“Wasserträume und Wasserräume im Staatsozialismus. Ein umwelthistorischer Vergleich anhand der tschechoslowakischen und rumänischen Wasserwirtschaft 1948-1989“) is the title of the monograph by Arnošt Štanzel, which has just been published by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. The study, which examines the water use plans of the communist regimes in Czechoslovakia and Romania as a contribution to the modernization of both countries, is the eighth volume in the series “Schnittstellen. Studium zum östlichen und südöstlichen Europa.”
Dr. Arnošt Štanzel was a doctoral student of the Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies and is a research associate at the East Europe Department of the State Library in Munich.
The dreams of the communist regimes in Czechoslovakia and Romania regarding water use for the modernization of both countries are central to this environmental history study. How was water management in state socialism between 1948 and 1989 used and what does this say about the human-nature relationship in both countries? Henri Lefebvre’s ideas about spatial production are used to examine and compare the construction of dams and the topic of water pollution. This process allows not only the writing of a history of construction of infrastructure, but also facilitates the consideration of its entanglement with the environment. This results in a vivid and multifaceted picture of the economic situation and the changes in the relationship between man and nature. The work thus addresses an important desideratum of environmental historical research on Eastern Europe and relativises the widespread notion of nature-destroying state socialism. The regimes of both countries have made serious efforts to protect the environment. However, the paper also shows how these efforts ultimately failed in the political system, with its focus on growth and lack of power-sharing. This becomes all the more evident in the worldwide water comparisons drawn by the study. Until the 1970s, the relationship between man and the environment was comparable in all industrialised countries. Only civil society and the strengthened environmental movements in liberal democracies stopped increasing environmental pollution.
The series “Schnittstellen. Studium zum östlichen und südöstlichen Europa” of the Graduate School is edited by its speakers Martin Schulze Wessel and Ulf Brunnbauer, and is published by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.
Arnošt Štanzel: Wasserträume und Wasserräume im Staatssozialismus. Ein umwelthistorischer Vergleich anhand der tschechoslowakischen und rumänischen Wasserwirtschaft 1948–1989, Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2017 (Schnittstellen. Studien zum östlichen und südöstlichen Europa; Bd. 8).
1st edition 2017
378 bound pages with 22 figures
ISBN 978-3-647-30184-6 (E-Book)
Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht