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Romania at its Borders. Mapping Out Crossing-Border Practices (2008-2009)


Research on societal transformations after the collapse of the socialist regimes in Eastern Europe showed the role crossing-border practices played in sustaining the people’s livelihood. During state socialism, Eastern European countries were seen as “large scale prisons” where people’s mobility was very much restricted; international mobility, such as tourism (to Western Europe and North America especially), migration, or even crossing-border practices, were considered detrimental to the “social order” of the totalitarian state (see Horváth 2008). Nevertheless, after the collapse of the communist regimes, international mobility, migration and also informal trade became alternatives to impoverishment and economic risks. In this paper, I explore how different forms of international
mobility developed after 1989. My research is carried out in the region of Bukovina (Suceava county – the Northeastern side of Romania bordering Ukraine), where different types of border crossing practices are described. I conclude by arguing that these practices should not be seen only in terms of interaction practices developing between Romania and Ukraine, but also as everyday practices, a sort of „dispositional transnationalism“, including various amounts of petty trade, border crossing practices and weak institutional cooperation.

Keywords: international mobility, communism, Romania, Ukraine

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