Reframing forests and identities in a Transylvanian village
Simona Niculae (Central European University)
The paper investigates the current changes of the relationship between people and the forests in a village in Transylvania, Romania. Deindustrialization, privatization of forests, liberalization of trade, rural tourism, and EU accession made people reconfigure their old bond and their dependency on the forests. Until recently miners and lumberjacks in state-owned extraction industry, they were part of groups of distinct values, identities and ethos. While rural tourism is increasingly seen as the path to follow nowadays, this reorientation involves an intense process - with multiple actors - of articulating new attitudes and various discourses on environment, traditions, nation. This study will look at this intricate process and how forests became the center of identity reconstruction, while the dramatic and long relationship with the mines was obliterated. Forests not only have new roles in a new ethos, but replaced mines in any link to the past, present or future.
Engaging resources: anthropological perspectives on the formation and contestation of natural resource environments