Sociologie Românească, Vol. VII, no. 2/2009, pp. 114-129.
Artizanatul ţărănesc în economia de piaţă din România şi Europa Centrală şi de Est
Peasant handicraft in market economy in Romania and the Central and Eastern Europe
Abstract: This text has two objectives referring to the study of the market development of artisanship in Romania, and to the theoretical interpretation of the folk craftsmen's fairs in the comparative context of the open-air markets from Central-Eastern Europe. Our research attempts to answer some questions related to the cultural variability of artisanship, its hybrid character, as well as its regenerative properties within the peasant traditions as a whole. From a methodological viewpoint, the article dwells upon an ethnographic investigation (pursued in terms of participant observation and life-story interviews) of a number of 53 peasant artisans that attended folk fairs held in the summer of 2005, in the cities of Bucharest, Sibiu, Timișoara, and Suceava. The second part of our material represents a compared analysis of the folk fairs and the open-air markets in Central-Eastern Europe. The craftsmen differ from the market traders either as to their working ownership, or as to their administrative and commercial subordination. Despite such important socioeconomic differences, the artisans and the farmers from the agricultural markets share a peasant historical background, and a series of commercial functioning similarities (including the ownership of their goods and trademarks, their relationships with partners coming from the public or private spheres, strategies of retail and wholesale, investments in transportation, the scale of formality-and-informality, and the ethics of trade). As a result, the craftsmen may appear as a relevant reference for more general cultural and economic trends of peasantry in contemporary Romania.
Keywords: artisanship, variability, hybridisation, regeneration, craft fairs, open-air markets.
Cuvinte-cheie: artizanat, variabilitate, hibridizare, regenerare, târguri meșteșugãrești, piețe în aer liber.