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Non- and dedocumenting citizens in Romania

Nonrecording as a civil boundary

Ioana Vrăbiescu

characterize the Romanian state’s exclusionary policies toward its own citizens on the basis of administrative registration. They reveal two techniques used by the nonrecording state: failing to register newborns and revoking identity documents from evicted

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Writing Childhoods, Righting Memory

Intergenerational Remembrance in Post-communist Romania

Codruta Alina Pohrib

… they pass through walls, these revenants, day and night, they trick consciousness and skip generations. —Jacques Derrida, Spectres of Marx 1 L‌ike many other countries in the former Eastern bloc, 2 Romania is witnessing continued efforts on the

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Buffeted by Political Winds

Children’s Literature in Communist Romania

Adrian Solomon

Romanian children’s literature may be as rich as any other, but critics and historians have only focused on its pre-Communist period. Although after the fall of Communism and the revival of free speech the reevaluation of recent history based on

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Ambiguous Attachments and Industrious Nostalgias

Heritage Narratives of Russian Old Believers in Romania

Cristina Clopot

It was during a hot summer day in 2015 when, together with a group of informants, I visited a Russian Old Believers’ church in Climăuți, a Romanian village situated at the border with Ukraine ( Figure 1 ). 1 After attending a church service, our

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The Brothel Phone Number

Infrastructures of Transnational Pimping in Eastern Romania

Trine Mygind Korsby

Pimping is the main job for us here in Galaţi. It is the city of pimps [ oraşul peştilor ] in Romania. A few guys started it and saw how good it was, and then everybody said to their girlfriend: ‘Come, let’s go!’ So that’s what I am doing. It’s what

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Into and Out of Citizenship, through Personal Tax Payments

Romanian Migrants’ Leveraging of British Self-Employment

Dora-Olivia Vicol

meaningful subjects in moral orders premised on economic contribution ( Millar 2014 ). A similar ambivalence characterizes European citizenship and the story of Romanian migrants who informed this article. If, in a juridical sense, all Romanians became

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Katherine Verdery

Throughout the Cold War, most people in the US saw the communist party-states of the Soviet bloc as all-powerful regimes imposing their will on their populations. The author, a child of the Cold War, began her fieldwork in Romania in the 1970s in this belief. The present essay describes how her experiences in Romania between 1973 and 1989 gradually forced her to see things differently, bringing her to realize that centralization was only one face of a system of rule pervaded by barely controlled anarchy and parasitism on the state. It was not simply that the regime had failed to change people's consciousness; rather, the system's operation was actively producing something quite different. These insights contributed to the author's developing a new model of the workings of socialism.

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The Collectivisation of Pleasure

Normative Sexuality in Post-1966 Romania

Erin K. Biebuyck

This article examines several sex manuals from Nicolae Ceauşescu’s Romania for the ideologically-infused sex norms they contain. These manuals constructed a sexual ideal that located pleasure in the marital couple rather than in the individual, defining ‘normal sexuality’ as heterosexual and privileging its collective significance as an act for reproduction over the experience of pleasure by an individual. This collective model of pleasure was key to the construction of the communist subject as a member of a collective rather than as an autonomous individual. While this collective subject had roots in Romanian pre-communist traditions, communist sex experts rejected conventional gender roles according to which women are subordinate to men. Subsequent comparisons with contemporaneous American sex manuals reveal that the Romanian communist discourse on pleasure differed significantly from that of popular American sex advice of the same period.

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Maria Bucur

This article questions the claim that in Romania, the post-1990 period was one of radically greater freedom in religious matters, as well as greater religiosity on the part of the population. Instead, it suggests that continuity be er encapsulates the development of religiosity—religious beliefs and their embodiment in specific practices— among Orthodox Christians in Romania in the twentieth century. It also makes visible important imbalances, gaps, and faulty assumptions about the importance of institutions in the daily religious practices and beliefs of most Orthodox populations in the historiography on Orthodoxy in Romania. Scholars have failed to see continuities and have embraced analytical frameworks that stress change, especially around the communist takeover period (1945–1949) and the fall of communism (1989–1990). Central to re-evaluating this trajectory are two aspects of Orthodoxy in Romania: (1) most believers live in the countryside; and (2) women have remained central to the development and maintenance of religious practices in ways that cannot be accounted for through any institutional analysis of the Orthodox Church, because of its both implicit and explicit misogyny.

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Between Liberal and Republican Citizenship

Feminism and Nationalism in Romania, 1880-1918

Maria Bucur

This essay explores feminism's relations with nationalism and liberalism by examining specifically how feminists in late-nineteenth-century Romania understood citizenship and how they articulated views about women's empowerment starting from specific assumptions about individual rights and responsibilities in the community (as regulated by the state through citizenship). This perspective enables me to explain the eagerness of many feminist activists to work within the dominant paternalist/patriarchal context not as a paradox, but rather as an outgrowth of locally grounded, powerful contexts that worked together to afford specific choices to women struggling against patriarchy. In the case I discuss below feminists understood women's empowerment in terms of validating and increasing women's civic duties and responsibilities, rather than struggling for individual rights. These arguments built upon a well-established, albeit not clearly articulated, concept of republican citizenship, and reconstructed it most often in the language of nationalism (frequently ethno-nationalism), which had wide currency in Romania in the late nineteenth century.