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Divided Collective Memory and the Judicialization of (Past) Necropolitical Practices Around Institutions for Children with Disabilities in Romania (2019-2020)

Field of study: Anthropology

This paper is an analysis of a recent series of criminal complaints by the Institute for the Investigation of the Crimes of Communism and the Memory of the Romanian Exile regarding preventable deaths in residential institutions for children with disabilities. I contrast the investigations with ethnographic and interview data surrounding one of the institutions included in the trial, as well as archival material. I argue that the criminal complaints have marked a turning point in the process of judicialization of the state socialist past through
democratizing victim and perpetrator statuses and set in motion dynamics of cultural memory recognizing the deaths of children in institutions on a local level. Nevertheless, they also obliterate continuities of necropolitical practices in relation to institutions.

Keywords: memory, judicialization, disability, post-socialism

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