Buzoianu and Toc [Abstract]

Misunderstanding opportunities: (post-)resettlement issues in the Recea neighbourhood of Alba Iulia  [Full text]

Cătălin Buzoianu [1] and Sebastian Țoc [2]

AbstractAlthough its gold mining project has been locked in public debates and permit reviews for over a decade, a Canadian-Romanian company privately negotiated with the inhabitants of Roşia Montană commune, Romania, to buy their households and lands, and resettle them in a specially built neighbourhood in the city of Alba Iulia. This paper suggests that while the paternalistic character of resettlement has allowed resettlers to partially keep their group identity, and partially to reconstruct it in relation with the host community, it was also based on a misunderstanding of the relationship between resettlers and the organiser of resettlement. Drawing on field research, the resettlement was studied as a “continuous process” spanning three years (2010-12), during which this paper identifies (1) the changes in lifestyle, (2) the mechanisms of community regeneration, and (3) post-resettlement initiatives of resettlers. Although greater living costs (utility bills, real estate taxes, transportation) and unemployment seem to be balanced by better living conditions and greater educational opportunities for their children, the ambivalent paternalistic aspect of the resettlement has negatively influenced the development of the new community. While at first community issues were unsuccessfully addressed to the company, recent public improvement initiatives by resettlers have caused tensions between the two sides.

Keywords: Resettlement, reconstruction, post-resettlement initiatives, resettlement as opportunity

[1] Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, catalin.buzoianu@yahoo.com

[2] Faculty of Political Sciences, National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania, sebastiantoc@yahoo.com