Accepted Paper:

Acceptance and resilience towards the EU institutional culture model  


Gabriel Stoiciu ('Francisc Rainer' Institute of Anthropology)

Paper short abstract:

The paper describes different aspects related to the activity of EU experts working in Romania. I am particularly interested in the interactions of their individual cultural background with Brussels' institutional culture and with the "code of conduct" of Romanian public servants.

Paper long abstract:

Having to comply with EU accession requirements, but confronted with socioeconomic difficulties, East European Countries "import" foreign experts by "twining" or "technical assistance" projects.

The main objective of my paper is to present some aspects related to individual attitudes of professionals confronted with the EU institutional culture model, which consists of overall standards for activity and communication (even terminology).

From their position, EU-employees are confronted with multiple cultural pressures, which lead to different behaviours ranging from acceptance to resistance. On the one hand, an EU expert has to embrace an EU code of conduct (often different their prior background) but also a Eurojargon, which can have unusual consequences. An example of using Eurojargon in average communication was a question addressed to me by an English-speaking EU expert: "Gabriel, can you organise (i.e. "bring") a headphone?"

On the other hand, the "exotic" environment of the hosting country could not be disregarded by a professional compelled to work both on the wide and the deep scale of a foreign society. Subsequently, another objective is to show how the representation of Romanian social, political and economic landscape - acquired by the foreign experts prior their arrival in Romania - changed when confronted with the on-field situation (the attitude and background of the indigenous people to work with) and what the impact on their actual missions was.

As a former "native" member (project assistant) of such a technical assistance team, I present some results of this fieldwork based on empirical data gathered through interviews and participant observations of different foreign experts working in Romania.

Panel W081
Modern institutions in a 'cross-cultural' perspective - ethnographies of adaptation and code-switching