Entangled worlds of labour

historical anthropology of labour, labour relations in Eastern Europe

Labour regulation and the antinomies of powerlessness in a Romanian car factory

During the academic year 2021-2022 I was an ILO-chair at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Nantes. The project was an analysis of three key moments for Romanian labour legislation:

•           The adoption of the Labour Code in 1972;

•           The implementation of the Labour Code of 2003;

•          The Social Dialogue Law of 2011.

My research drew on a combination of ethnographic insights, expert interviews, and analyses of the national, European, and global legal fields to understand the progressive weakening of labour’s bargaining power in Romania. Using the case study of an automotive factory in the city of Craiova, my project opened a window into the multiscalar complexities of the Romanian labour legislation, and into how its metamorphoses have been negotiated on the shopfloor in the last fifty years.