The present analysis is based on data collected in the course of an extensive fieldwork that is still in progress. I attempt to establish the social identity of the revolutionaries by relying on the following sources and methods: interviews with participants in the revolution from Cluj (mainly members of the ?Association for the Truth about the Revolution, Cluj?, composed of the injured and the families of the martyr-heroes); interviews with participants in the Timisoara revolution; and participant observation and interviews with those who attended the ?National Conference of the Unifying Revolutionaries from Romania?, which took place in Timisoara, on 16 December, 2002.In order to analyse the official discourse on the category of revolutionary I have made use of the text of law no. 42/1990, with its subsequent amendments and additions, published in Monitorul Oficial (The Gazette); other statements I make in this paper have their empirical basis in my monitoring of media covering the period of December 2002, which focused on the public debates on the quality of revolutionary, as well as participant observation in a couple of sessions of the trial of the revolution in Cluj. This study of the configuration of the Romanian revolutionary identity is part of a broader PhD project with the title ?The 1989 Romanian Revolution in the Collective Memory and in the Social Imaginary`, in which the theoretical and methodological approach is an interdisciplinary one, bringing together oral history, social anthropology and social psychology.

If we look at the process of revolutionary identification as a synthesis of external and internal definition (Jenkins 1996, 26-7), then we become aware of whose definition of a ?revolutionary? counts more, in which contexts, and with what consequences and how such definitions are interrelated. Thus, we can analyse the social construction of the revolutionary identity at the following levels: the official level of political discourse and Government policies (which define the quality of revolutionary and allocate material and symbolic resources); the level of the institutionalised identity (comprising all revolutionary organisations, which define membership and draw distinctions between members and non-members); the level of public opinion (which conveys stereotypes and fluctuating social representations of revolutionaries). The external definitions influence self-ascription and self-definition, and in the tension between them a social space of negotiating identities is configured.

Towards semantics of the revolutionary: the official definition

The generic term `revolutionary` is a nominal, all-embracing identity under which one can find, in the political discourse, those who took part directly (and they also claim this) in the events of December 1989 in Romania ? events that are officially as well as historically termed ?The Romanian Revolution?. As is known, in the Central and East-European landscape of the year 1989, where changes in the political system were programmatically non-violent, the Romanian revolution was remarkable for its extreme violence, both physical and psychological (through a huge media disinformation campaign). The tragic consequences of the violence in the Romanian revolution were 1107 dead and 3352 injured people, including 162 dead and 1107 injured before December 22 (the day of Ceausescu?s fall and capture) and 942 dead and 2245 injured after December 22. As long as there is confusion surrounding the events of December 1989, a lack of political will to establish the truth and a systematic avoidance of responsibility for what happened to the victims, the revolutionary identity and its public acknowledgement can be nothing but problematical. Therefore the semantics of the ?revolutionary? notion implies an ideological dimension, fairly compatible with the official - hegemonic - definition of the Romanian revolution.[3]