Research team


Dr. Magdalena CRĂCIUN, Principal Investigator


Magdalena holds a PhD in Anthropology (2010) from University College London. She was Marie Curie Intra-European Fellow (2013/2015) in the Department of Anthropology at University College London, Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Social Anthropology at University of Pardubice, the Czech Republic (2012/2013) and Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the British Institute at Ankara (British Academy) (2011/2012). She holds an MA in Central European History (2002/2003) from Central European University, Budapest, an MA in Anthropology from SNSPA, Bucharest and a BA in Sociology from University of Bucharest. Her research interests include the theoretisation of material culture, dress and fashion, Islamic fashion, aesthetics and ethics, authenticity and inauthenticity, brand and fake brand, informal economy and trans-national networks. She carried out long-term fieldwork in Turkey and Romania. Her most recent publications include Islam, Faith and Fashion: The Islamic fashion industry in Turkey (Bloomsbury Academic: London & New York, September 2017), ‘Bobbles and values: an ethnography of de-bobbling garments in post-socialist urban Romania’ (Journal of Material Culture 2015, 20(1): 3-20), Material Culture and Authenticity: Fake Branded Fashion in Europe (Bloomsbury Academic: London & New York, 2014) și ‘Rethinking fakes, authenticating selves’ (Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 2012, 18(4): 846-863). She has been peer-reviewing for Journal of Material Culture since 2012.

In this project, Magdalena explores practices of clothing consumption among self-described middle class persons, women in particular, with a special focus on the local nuancing of the notion and practice of ‘thriftiness’ and the current development of garment recycling initiatives.

Lect. Dr. Bogdan IANCU, Post-doctoral researcher


Bogdan holds a PhD in Anthropology and Ethnology (2011) from the University of Perugia (Italy) and an MA in Anthropology (2003) from the National School of Political Studies and Public Administration (Bucharest).

He held several fellowships and short study grants at University of Perugia, Swedish Biodiversity Centre – Uppsala and Université Libre de Bruxelles. For the last fifteen years he has worked as a researcher based at National School of Political Studies and Public Administration (Department of Sociology) and the Museum of the Romanian Peasant Bucharest (Department of Ethnological Research), conducting long and short-term ethnographic researches. As Assistant Professor of Anthropology he teaches Ethnography and Participant Observation, Visual Anthropology, Sociology of Everyday Life, Anthropology of Work). His research interests focus on housing and material culture, technology and consumption, urban environment, agriculture and agricultural policies. His most recent publications include: “The Material Culture (Re)Turn in Anthropology: Promises and Dead-ends” (ed., Humanitas 2013), “The Károly Kós Experiment: Participatory Museography, Material Culture and Childhood” (Martor. The Museum of the Romanian Peasant Anthropology Review 18/2013 – p. 169-174), “Modes of appropriation and social resistance” (Gabriel Troc and Bogdan Iancu eds., Humanitas, 2015).

In this project, employing ethnographic data, Bogdan explores the Bucharest middle-class’ domestic universe as a central space for defining housing and consumption practices of this class. Specifically, he examines how post-socialist gated communities and “houses with picket fences” (rom: case pe pământ) have become the pillars of middle-class’ identity and aspirations. The focus is on “respectable material standards” (Patico 2008) of building, furnishing and home-caring practices as integral part of middle-classness.

Lect. Dr. Monica STROE, Post-doctoral researcher


Monica holds a PhD in Sociology from the National School of Political Studies and Public Administration (Bucharest) and an MA in Nationalism Studies from Central European University (Budapest). In addition, she held several fellowships and short study grants at Goldsmiths College (University of London), University of Perugia, Universite Libre Bruxelles, Observatoire des Politiques Culturelles Grenoble and University of Trieste. She has over eight years of research experience, with appointments at the Romanian Centre for Research in the Field of Culture, in market research and as independent researcher. She currently holds a teaching and research position within the Department of Sociology at SNSPA Bucharest, where she teaches the Anthropology of Food and Eating, Sociology of Consumption, Heritage and Branding and coordinates collective field research projects. Her research interests focus on food, agriculture, cultural practices and policies, heritage, ethnicity and consumption. Her most recent publication is “Taste of place: the production of cultural agro-food landscapes in Southern Transylvania” (Bucharest, Tritonic, 2016).

In this project, Monica looks at the morality, aesthetics and identity politics of the food-related practices of the local middle class. The focus is on taste formation and reproduction and the emerging local foodie scene.

Ștefan LIPAN, Doctoral researcher


Ştefan is a PhD candidate in Anthropology at the National School for Political and Administrative Sciences (Bucharest). He holds an MA in Anthropology and a BA in Political Science and European Relations from the same university. During his MA, he spent one year as an Erasmus postgraduate student at the University of Liège (Belgium). His MA research focused on Romanian Roma migrants living in Liège and explored the mundane criss-crossing of ethnic and religious frontiers. In his PhD research, Ştefan aims to offer a better understanding of the morality of caring, as it is constructed among and about children in the state foster care system in Bucharest. His research interests include migration/mobility, ethnicity, religion, political anthropology, moral anthropology and anthropology of childhood.

In this project, Ştefan takes as his starting point the objects given in acts of compassion for institutionalised children and investigates the insertion of objects, practices and discourses into a globally circulated repertoire of middle class practices and world-views. He explores how middle class people construct themselves as ‘beautiful people’ (oameni frumoși) and demonstrates that middle-class is both an ethical and aesthetic category.

Alin SAVU, Doctoral researcher

Alin 2 cropAlin is a PhD candidate in Anthropology at the National School for Political and Administrative Sciences (Bucharest). He holds an MA in Anthropology from the same university and a BA in Political Science from University of Bucharest. During his MA, he spent six months as Erasmus Student at Universita degli Studi di Padova (Italy). His research interests include urban childhood, personalised education, homeschooling, extracurricular activities, class, communities, minorities and material culture, documentary film, memory, social history, nostalgia and post-communism. Alin also took part in other research projects, such as „A Social Cartography of Bucharest” (2013, Sociology Department, SNSPA) and “(Hi)stories and Reconciling Memories. The German and Romanian Communities of Câlnic” (2011, IICCMER and Universite Libre de Brussels).

In this research project, Alin focuses on the daily life and material culture of middle-class families with children in Bucharest, aiming to document how local practices like child-rearing and consumption are related and inscribed into a global idea of middleness.

Alexandra DINCĂ, Doctoral researcher

ad-7135Alexandra is a PhD candidate in Anthropology at the National School for Political and Administrative Sciences (Bucharest). She holds an MA in Anthropology from the same university and a BA in Journalism from the University of Bucharest. She was selected to be part of the Noor Masterclass in Documentary Photography for the Balkans in Bucharest, the Foundry Workshop in Istanbul and the Editing for the narrative impact program at the World Press Photo event in Lucca, Italy. She has worked for NGO’s such as UNICEF, Ovidiu Ro, MAME, Deep Griha (India). Her work was exhibited in the Romanian Parliament, The European Parliament and the Romanian National Library. Her ongoing PhD thesis looks at the daily lives of people living in the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve trying to understand local hydro-social relations in the context of changing European and Romanian Government programs, water rights, migration and tourism.

Alexandra is responsible for the visual documentation of this research, using photography as a tool to visually describe individuals or families targeted within the research and document material culture, consumption habits and other topics relevant for the lived experience of middle classness.

Dr. Magdalena ALBULESCU, Post-doctoral researcher and Administrator


Magdalena holds a PhD in Education from the National School of Political Studies and Public Administration (Bucharest). She is a researcher interested in the drafting of public education policies. Her research is concerned with the influence ideology has on the educational and pedagogy systems. Her most recent work includes “Directions of Reforming European Higher Education”(The Proceedings of Third Academos Conference 2016, International Political Science Conference Governing for the Future: Interdisciplinary Perspectives for a Sustainable World, 2016) and “Ballot Absenteeism and Participation to Protests: A New Way of Political Participation in Romania after 2012”, Journal of Democracy and Electoral Studies, 2015.

Magdalena is the project’s administrator. She is also responsible for gathering data about the representation of the middle class in mass media.