Of Bodies and Documents: A Reportage from a Transylvanian Village

Ana Chiritoiu

Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Central European University


Revisiting past conflicts is an occasion to re-assess our commitments with the benefit of hindsight. Examining the aftermath of a violent antigypsyist conflict that took place in the early 1990s in a village in Transylvania, I describe how notions of justice, victimhood, and human rights travelled from transnational ideologies and institutions onto local households, through the mediation of state authorities and civic actors. Peering through this kaleidoscope of contradictions, distorted echoes, performance, suspicions, and miscalculations, I reflect on the intellectual and civic ambivalences precipitated by my various engagements — activist, academic, and human — with the reparations process engendered by the conflict. Deliberately stepping beyond humanitarian and justicial idioms, my narrative dwells on the social trauma recounted by the victims of the conflict: that of seeing their properties, bodies, and social belonging damaged by neighbours suddenly turned homicidal.


Antigypsyism; Reparations; Human Rights; Roma; Transylvania

Author contact: ana.chiritoiu [at] gmail.com

Citation: Chiritoiu, A., 2019. “Of Bodies and Documents: A Reportage from a Transylvanian Village”, Irish Journal of Anthropology, 22(1), 170-183.