The First Moldovan Students in Romania (1990–1991): Informal Traders or Agents of Change?

  • Petru Negură
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


Part of the first cohort (the academic year 1990–1991) of students from the Moldavian and Ukrainian Republics in Romania tried to obtain collateral benefits from the liberalization of border-crossing regimes to transport and trade various consumer goods. Engaging in “secondary economy” activities contradicted both the common expectations of student conduct and the idealist ethics, promoted by the official discourse of the communist regime, of personal austerity in favour of the presumed collective good. Once political regimes changed and old powers and ideologies lost their legitimacy, these informal activities acquired new social, moral, symbolic, ideological, and identity meanings. Adopting a behaviour and a discourse described as vicious at that time, the students belonging to this “active minority” helped reformulate in their own way those rigid models of practices and values (considered idealistic and/or ideologically manipulated) which lost their efficiency once the state suddenly loosened its “monopoly on legitimate violence” and individual freedoms thrived. This informal practice can be considered, in that specific socio-historical context, an act of innovation and a factor of change.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Petru Negură
    • 1
  1. 1.Free International University of Moldova, Centre for Sociology and Social PsychologyChișinăuMoldova

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