Accepted Paper:

Mobility reframed: conquering the mountain forests on Transylvanian borderland  


Árpád Töhötöm Szabó (Babeș-Bolyai University)
Zsombor Csata (Hungarian Academy of Sciences)

Paper short abstract:

The presentation analyzes the case of a mountain village from Eastern Carpathians. A former industrial settlement (and its generally poor people) that entered into a deep decline in 1990s is facing a wave of wealthy second home owners which inevitably leads to contradictory situations.

Paper long abstract:

The analyzed village, which is located on the eastern border of Transylvania, in the middle of pine forests in the Eastern Carpathians, was established in the late 19th century as a lumbering settlement. It witnessed a rapid growth both economically and demographically being a sort of melting pot for people with different ethnic background. According to local sources, in the interwar period the village had 6-7000 inhabitants attracted by the job opportunities and better salaries. The economic booms, however, were always followed by deep declines: the most recent one occurred in 1990s, after the fall of Romanian socialism and nowadays it seems that the village will be totally depopulated after slightly more than 100 years of existence. Nowadays officially there are around 1000 people in the village and the figures are constantly decreasing.

Meantime, however, in spite of the still unpaved road, the surroundings attracted new settlers: wealthy people from nearby cities and even from Bucharest and Budapest built new style villas mainly on the fringes of the village and hidden in the forests. While they prefer to live a secluded way of life, they cannot avoid to interfere with the locals and two worlds collide in discourses and lifestyles. The presentation analyzes the contradictions of this new 'conquest': the memories of the better past, the sorrows of the present and the promises of the future brought by the potential tourists, the sympathies and antipathies towards them are all mixed in this process.

Panel Rur02
Tracking changes in the mountains: imaginaries, mobilities, narratives