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The paper analyzes the development of the sociology of mass culture in 1960s–1970s Socialist Romania from a newly formed discipline meant to provide scientific guidance for the formulation and implementation of cultural policies (producing hegemony), into an instrument for the criticism of the cultural basis for consent. First, it addresses the broader context of the discipline’s configuration, and the initial debates about the sociologist’s relationship to his object of study. Second, it analyzes two versions of the “systemic” approach in the sociology of mass culture and mass communication, with a focus on the ways in which they conceptualized consent/coercion. Third, it details how several empirical studies reflected on the issue of hegemony in 1970s Socialist Romania.
Keywords: sociology of mass culture; cultural hegemony; systems theory; empirical studies of mass culture in 1970s Socialist Romania.