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Call for papers

Ethnographies of Class in Central and Eastern Europe
Venue: SNSPA, Bacaloglu Str. no 2, Bucharest
Date: 28-29 September 2017


Organisers: The Romanian Society for Social and Cultural Anthropology (SASC) &
Department of Sociology, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration (SNSPA), Bucharest

Confirmed keynote speaker: Krisztina Fehérváry (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)
Expulsed from mainstream political discourse and deemed irrelevant in many academic circles, class is coming back with a vengeance. Our conference addresses the ways in which a return to class in anthropology might help us better understand the current encounters between, on the one hand, new mechanisms of surplus extraction, processes of valuation and geographies of capital and, on the other hand, novel biographical trajectories, processes of identification and emerging populist rhetorics. We invite scholars who engage the current economic and political processes, as well as the transformations of everyday life in Central and Eastern Europe from a class perspective to participate in our three sessions, which are detailed below.

Themes. Panels and papers can draw upon (but are not limited to) the following themes:

Class, economic transformation, and biographical restructuring in Eastern and Central Europe
This theme explores the reshaping of the life structures of possibility emerging in the trail of the economic transformations that accompanied the advance of neoliberalism in Central and Eastern Europe after 1990. We are looking for papers that investigate the impact of class belonging on localized trajectories of social mobility, strategies of survival and thriving, old and new meanings of work and employment, financial (re)arrangements within the household, (re)configurations of provisioning systems, or generationally bound possibilities of imagining and sustaining a future in the context of an increasing precarization of work and existential fragility.

Fantasies of middle-classness
In Central and Eastern Europe, the middle class occupies a prominent ideological place in political discourses and the mass media. It has become an aspirational category, with an ever-growing number of people dreaming to become part of the middle class or identifying themselves as such. This theme takes these dreams seriously and places the fantasy of middle-classness at the core of the hegemonic understanding of capitalism in the region. We invite papers that discuss the social and political implications of this celebration of middle-classness throughout the region, including but not restricted to analyses of the new forms of labour, consumption and lifestyle, the material culture(s) accompanying processes of middle class subjectivation and identification, as well as the ethical horizons emerging as part of the middle-class imaginary.

Populist rhetorics and the logics of class
This theme addresses the ways in which new populist rhetorics emerging in Central and Eastern Europe coalesce around the idea of middle-classness as a form of citizenship. We welcome papers that discuss the rise of social movements and the increasing level of street mobilization and focus on the clusters of tropes emerging around the relationship between middle-classness, meritocracy, anticorruption, civilization and the nation and on the ways in which these tropes might have been functioning as critical forms of othering in the recent years.

Roundtable: Anthropology of class in Central and Eastern Europe – current state of the art and further directions

Convenor: Alina-Sandra Cucu (re:work fellow at IGK Work and Human Life Cycle in Global History, Humboldt University, Berlin)

In addition, our conference will feature a roundtable around the epistemological and methodological concerns regarding the various definitions of “class” and “class belonging” that arise for anthropology in general and for the research on the region in particular. The roundtable will bring together the keynote speaker and the participants in our conference, joined in a common endeavour of opening a space for debating what class could do for our understanding of the connection between geographies of capital accumulation, the world of work, and the realm of social reproduction in the now and into the future.

Application process: We accept both individual abstracts and panel proposals. Panel proposals should have three or four individual abstracts and a short (maximum 100 words) description. Individual abstracts should have no more than 150 words. Please send your abstracts and proposals at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Submission deadline: August 15, 2017. The results and the preliminary program will be sent by 5 September, 2017

Languages: The language of the conference is English

Accomodation: SASC will not provide, but will be able to assist with finding economy accommodation in a few hostels in Bucharest. The program of the conference and the paper abstracts will be available on the association’s website.

Conference fees
Non-SASC members: 25 Eur (110 RON)
SASC members: 15 Eur (65 RON)
MA & PhD students: 15 Eur (65 RON)
Membership fee 2017-2018: 5 Eur (22 RON)
The conference fees will cover the coffee breaks and buffet dinners for the two days of the conference.

© SACR