Accepted Paper:

Ethnographies of mobility in rural Romania: practices and representations in times of crisis  


Pietro Cingolani (University of Turin)

Paper short abstract:

The Romanian population has a long experience in internal and international migration. Various practices of mobility are consolidated and closely interrelated within households; they have produced and still produce conflicting representations and different relations of power at local community level

Paper long abstract:

Domestic and international mobility are two phenomena that have long involved the Romanian population and have been the basis of social organization of many domestic groups (Mihailescu and Nicolau 1995). Depending on the historical period, on the economic development level and on the kind of political restrictions, one phenomenon has prevailed over the other. During the socialist period, when the Western borders were closed, much of the rural population was involved in internal migration towards industrialized urban centres (Sandu 1984). The international migration to Western Europe started by the early 90s and it has become increasingly important, although internal migration did not stop. At first the return to the countryside appeared, followed by a new internal mobility to more developed urban centres (Diaconu et al 2013). Today the heavy economic crisis pushes expatriates to come back to Romania and this return often is followed by new movements within the country. This phenomenon favours a link between areas of research (studies on domestic and international mobility) that have remained for a long time clearly far apart one from the other. This essay is based on years of ethnographic research conducted in some villages in north-eastern Romania; it explores how international and domestic mobility practices have been experienced and narrated by people, the social consequences they had and how they were and still are represented at the collective level. A complex interplay of relations emerges, where the individual lives are conditioned by different mobility regimes and the physical mobility does not always correspond to social mobility

Panel P030
Mobilities, ethnographically connected: beyond the 'gap' between internal and transnational migration [ANTHROMOB]