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The following video is a trailer of an ethnographic film that arose during the course of my PhD project at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies:

The implementation of the EU’s main nature conservation program, Natura 2000, has more side effects than Brussels’ bureaucrats envisaged. Two village communities own common forests and pastures in Natura 2000 protected areas – one located in Vrancea Romania and the other in Galicia, Spain. Both are struggling to defend their rights to access natural resources, vital for the local economy. However, communities are not homogenous and different discourses get shaped during the village assemblies where people seem to prime their immediate needs.  Culiţǎ, a 45 year old forestry worker, and Henar, a Galician farmer, build on the collective memories of disspossetion an active resistance behavior against the EU’s Natura 2000 program. Yet, the makeshift ethos in the first community, and the demographic decline in the second seem to lead to the failure of a coherent collective resistance.


The property rights structure over the forest in nowadays Romania looks as follows: approximately 50% state property, 50% private property, out of which 58% is commonly owned (aprox.1.5 million hectares) and 42% individual owned forests. In absolute terms the state property is 3.5 million hectares, out of which 450.000 are still to be restituted to the former owners (Romanian Forestry Department data 2007). A commonly owned private forest means the following – a village owns up 20 000 ha of forests and is entitled with one property title ( Romanian law of property restitution 1/2000 forbids the selling of property rights in the case of commonly owned private forests. Lately, two legislative initiatives were pushing towards the changing of this uncomfortable legislative foresight.

If one wants to buy forest in Romania, there is one advantage – the price is ridiculous, only 2000 euros per ha, but, according to the law, there is only one quarter available for sale, the individual private forests. Nevertheless, this part is brooked-up in very little lots and still with litigious problems over the property rights. Read the rest of this entry »

Essentially, governance is about governing mechanisms which are not prescribed and implemented from a single direction only. Postsocialism (or postcommunism) is about distinct patterns of social, economic or political life in former socialist countries. I agree with the first term, I don’t agree with the second. In the following I will briefly coin my understanding of postsocialism and point to some questions that arise with the use of this term. Tales about socialist inheritance and governance is meant to be an unstructured discussion about the clash between the two realities, developed into several series, and opened to free debate.

The problem with postsocialism/postcommunism is that is hard to say when it started and when this “post-“ will end; is it a transition period? But transition towards what? Capitalism? What kind of capitalism? It is hard to provide a clear answer to these questions. For example postsocialism arguably began in the Czech Republic with the revolution of the Spring of 1968, or even in Octobre 1956 in Hungary and since then, civic activism grew constantly against Kádár up to the peak of 1989. But did why these revolutions ocurre so soon? Read the rest of this entry »

The Book

Governance across borders: transnational fields and transversal themes. Leonhard Dobusch, Philip Mader and Sigrid Quack (eds.), 2013, epubli publishers.
March 2023

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