The Emergence of Sociology: The Gusti School

After the end of the war, sociology emerged as a think tank and, latter on, a full blown disciplinary science. The new science, a self proclaimed scientia militans, promised both to modernize the nation, by solving the huge problems the new state faced, and to provide legitimacy for nation building. Around this rather hazy perspective that tried to articulate the social and the national in a project centered on social science and expertise, D. Gusti and V. Madgearu were able to assemble most of the reformist voices and projects of the new Romania. At least for a time, Gusti was able to convince the political and administrative state elites that his empirical sociology, coupled with some theory of the social-national will could be harnessed for a concrete nation-building project. This success was based on the marginalization, cooptation and partial instrumentalization of the large wave of socialist-inspired reformist discourses that were a great part of the after-1918 Romanian reform projects. The Gustian strategy was not to directly confront the socialisms of many kinds that informed social reform in the late 1910s and early 1920s but to circumvent and transform them into partial and minor versions of a major science of reform: the monographical sociologia militans.


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  • Cotoi, C “The Geopolitical Turn in Interwar Romanian Sociology and Geography: From Social Reform to Population Exchange Plans”, History of the Human Sciences, 32(2), 2019: 76-100.


  • Gusti, D. (1919) “Realitate, știință și reformă socială: Câteva indicațiuni asupra metodei.” Arhiva pentru Știință și Reformă Socială I (1);
  • Gusti, D. (1937) “Ştiinţa naţiunii”, Sociologie românească, II, 2-3, p. 49-59.