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Tulbure, Narcis (2013) CHARY OPPORTUNISTS: MONEY, VALUES, AND CHANGE IN POSTSOCIALIST ROMANIA. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation examines the connections between shifting notions of money and values in contemporary Romania as a way to analyze the unfolding economic, political, and social changes during postsocialism. It is based on the ethnographic analysis of disputes following the collapse of several mutual funds during the late 1990s. Such ongoing disputes have taken the form of public protests, petitions to state authorities, media interventions, suggestions to improve regulations regarding the capital market, and, most conspicuously, legal actions against those responsible for the bankruptcies and for compensation to the investors whose money was lost. I situate such contentious interactions within histories of institutional importation after the end of socialism, such as the emerging capital market at the beginning of the 1990s, the electronic market created soon after that with support from USAID, the mutual fund sector growing at the end of the 1990s, and the regulatory reform of the capital market with Romania’s accession into the European Union in 2007. My informants were living not only a postsocialist transition to capitalism but also a neoliberal transformation in the global architecture of financial capitalism, and a reorganization of the state with its inclusion into the EU. I found that an ethos of chary opportunism was emerging both as a response to and as a catalyst of the economic transformations experienced by my interlocutors. I also argue that, as the financial instruments materializing indexical and performative forms of money engendered volatile registers of value common for the capital market, my informants faced growing economic uncertainties through a wary form of opportunistic conduct, the appeal to courts for solving key disputes about money and its value, and constant demands to the state to mitigate risks and the effects of the market. Their outlook makes it easier to understand that change is not determined by pre-existing configurations of values, but is often the result of attempts to apply previously tested routines to new situations. Change happens while many are still looking backwards, and the past enters the present not as continuity but as a template replicated instrumentally in situations of radical uncertainty.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Tulbure, Narcisnst4@pitt.eduNST4
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairHayden, Robertrhayden@pitt.eduRHAYDEN
Committee MemberConstable, Nicolencgrad@pitt.eduNCGRAD
Committee MemberLukacs, GabriellaLUKACS@pitt.eduLUKACS
Committee MemberLivezeanu, Irinairinal@pitt.eduIRINAL
Date: 2 July 2013
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 10 April 2013
Approval Date: 2 July 2013
Submission Date: 19 April 2013
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 367
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Anthropology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: money, values, change, neoliberalism, postsocialism, Eastern Europe
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2013 15:38
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2018 05:15


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