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Accepted Paper:

Reproducing collective identities in the Republic of Moldova: popular culture and (dis)unionist imaginaries in Chișinău  
Lucian Dumitrescu (The Institute of Political Sciences and International Relations, The Romanian Academy)

Paper short abstract:

My presentation explores the way that official identity narratives have influenced (dis)unionist political imaginaries of street artists from the Republic of Moldova. The graffiti messages of Chișinău reveal the clash between formal political imaginaries and informal collective identities.

Paper long abstract:

The post-Soviet history of the Republic of Moldova is tantamount to the history of Chișinău. With almost 800, 600 inhabitants, that is 22 percent of the total population of the Republic of Moldova, the city of Chișinău stands-out not only as the major urban contributor to the Republic of Moldova's economy (almost 60 percent of the GDP), but also as the site of the most intense symbolic clashes and protest marches. Starting with the "Twitter Revolution", (April 7-9, 2009) one could easily notice that the "identity battle" has reached a new level: from a collective and public level, coordinated by the state, to an individual level, expressed by the graffiti messages which basically pose the same question "Who are we?". Trying to answer this question, I have employed a theoretical approach that draws on popular culture and banal nationalism whilst focused my research on the 'Othering process' projected by the graffiti messages in Chișinău. I have strived to find out how the identity borders drawn through public discourses over the last twenty years in the Republic of Moldova have influenced the (dis)unionist imaginaries of unknown public artists. In doing so, I have examined the three main identity narratives articulated in the Republic of Moldova starting with 1991. Then, I have captured the way that political discourses related to formal collective identities have shaped the informal (dis)unionist imaginaries displayed by the street art in Chișinău. The methodological approach of this field research is characteristic to visual anthropology.

Panel P143
Complicating contemporary understandings of citizenship and belonging
  Session 1