Post-Socialist Europe and Its “Constitutive Outside”: Ethnographic Resemblances for a Comparative Research Agenda

  • Giovanni Picker
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Urban Anthropology book series (PSUA)


The “post-Socialist Europe” label has been criticized for not being able to fully capture post-1989–91 social and cultural processes in Central and Eastern Europe and Russia. While some ask what was Socialist Europe?, I interrogate non-post-Socialist Europe today. This chapter examines, from a historical-ethnographic comparative perspective, present-day fragmented resemblances and disjunctures between Eastern and Western Europe, contextualizing them within their (Socialist) antecedents. By focusing on the local governance of marginalized Romani families in Cluj-Napoca (Romania) and Florence (Italy), I show that in both temporal regimes (pre- and post-1989) the two cities display ethnographic resemblances. However, rather than creating disparities and hierarchies, I point to the importance of ethnographic comparisons between the margins of the “West” and the “East” in order to de-dichotomize and refine our knowledge.


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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giovanni Picker
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Birmingham School of Social PolicyBirminghamUK

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