Marius Ion Benţa

Marius Ion Bența works on such topics as corruption, technology, media, modernity, mystical experience, nationalism, and identity and places his research within the theoretical frameworks of reflexive-historical sociology, political anthropology and phenomenological sociology.

Marius has received his PhD in 2014 from University College Cork, Ireland, with a thesis on Alfred Schutz's sociology of "multiple realities." 

Apart from his position at the Polish Institut of Advanced Studies PIASt, he is a research fellow in sociology at George Barițiu History Institute and an Associate Lecturer at Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj city.

His recent publications include a research monograph (Experiencing Multiple Realities: Alfred Schutz’s Sociology of the Finite Provinces of Meaning, Routledge 2018), a collective volume co-edited with Agnes Horvath and Joan Davison (Walling, Boundaries and Liminality: A Political Anthropology of Transformations, Routledge 2018) along with papers and chapters in peer-reviewed publications. He is an Associate Editor of International Political Anthropology.

Research project: Corruption, religion, and political modernity

This project investigates the phenomenon of corruption as a political and religious problem from a multidisciplinary perspective provided by reflexive-historical sociology and political anthropology.

Doctor Bența tries to trace the roots of the problem of corruption as it is understood in the contemporary political world and in Romania in particular back to the Byzantine and post-Byzantine experiences in Eastern Europe. The reason for choosing these historical, political and religious contexts are, firstly, that the genesis of modernity owes a lot to Byzantium (or, rather, more than it is typically understood) and secondly, that contemporary Romania is a country where the level of corruption is considered to be significantly high and Romanians tend to see themselves as a more or less "exceptional" case from this point of view.

The relevance of Doctor Bența's project is not limited, however, to Romania or Eastern Europe; one of his main arguments is that corruption is not a feature specific to societies and communities that have difficulties embracing political and economic progress (such as Romania), but a problem of modern civilisation itself, which, in its globalisation march, menaces to turn it into a global problem. A central point in the elaboration of this project is a notion widely discussed in experiential anthropology, "permanent liminality", used in tandem with an analysis of political regimes as "secular religions".

Dates of stay: 01 October 2020 - 28 February 2021