Everyday life under state socialism was characterized by a series of antagonistic values. How was it possible to maintain a coherent, consistent value system, behavior and mentality under such circumstances? The present analysis is focused on the theft of state property, which is undeniably a reprehensible moral issue, still it was a widespread practice. Through the example of theft, I argue that practical coherence of the value system was maintained – among others – by the psychosocial mechanisms of selective moral disengagement. I also sketch the related processes of institutionalization and socialization through which theft became a socially embedded practice.

Keywords: theft, state socialism, moral disengagement, self-exoneration, Eastern Europe, Romania

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Editor: Horváth István (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) State socialism was a social-historical reality, in the forms of life and life situations it created / allowed. Its lifestyle project: the residential area with blocks of...


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