Current Issue

Facebook Icon  Twitter Icon  YouTube Icon

Research Students - Social Anthropology  

Year of start: 2007
Subject: Social Anthropology

Research Topic/ Provisional Dissertation Title

Women married off to chalices. Gender, kinship and wealth among Romanian Cortorari Gypsies


Primary: Michael Stewart
Secondary: Rebecca Empson


My research is based on 18 month of fieldwork carried out among a Romany speaking population, Cortorari (Tent-Dwellers) from central Romania, Transylvania. I did fieldwork both in Cortorari’s residential village and in Italy, where the population of my study engage in begging activities. I look at the circulation of women, dowries and male valuable in ceremonial exchanges. I am interested in understanding how the influx of capital coming from migration, objectified in conspicous patterns of consumption (such as imposing houses) impacts upon the local marriage market. I thus analyse the logics through wich this community accommodates and makes sense of two kinds of wealth, one in “inalienable possessions” and one in money. I also look at how new medical technologies are incorporated in local conceptions of gender, and enhance bodies to become competitive on a marriage market characterized by the decrease of marrigeable age and the uneven distribution of male and female potential spouses.

Research interests

  • Body and gender
  • Kinship and property
  • Money, wealth and value

Academic Background/Education

2006 MA in Anthropology and Community Development, National School of Administration and Political Sciences, Bucharest, Romania.

2005 MA in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Ecole Doctorale Francophone en Sciences Sociales, University of Bucharest – AUF, Romania

Honours and Awards

2010, with Radu Umbres, International Cognition and Culture Institute LSE / Institut Jean Nicod Paris, mini grant for the project “Blood, beakers and dowries. An inquiry into essentialist thinking about kinship and ethnicity among Cortorari Romanian Roma”


Forthcoming, Becoming rom (male), becoming romni (female) among Cortorari Romanian Roma. En-gendering bodies: sex, hormones and procreation, in Romany Studies Journal

2011 “Tigan bun traditional in Romania, cersetor de-etnicizat in strainatate. Politici ale re-prezentarii publice si etica muncii la romii Cortorari” (Good „traditional” Gypsies in Romania, de-ethnicized beggars abroad. Politics of representation and work ethics among Romanian Cortorari Roma), in Toma, S. and L. Fosztó (eds) Spectrum. Cercetari sociale despre romi. ISPMN- Kriterion: Cluj Napoca, pp 281-313

2011, with G. Picker and P. Cingolani (ed.), “Rom(eni) tra Torino e territori di partenza. Vita quotidiana, rapresentazioni mediatiche e politiche pubbliche” (Roma and Romanians between Torino and their home country. Everyday life, mass media representations and public policies), FIERI research report:

2008 with B. Iancu, The historical role of politics in the constitution of the present Romanian market of peasant artefacts”, in Martor Review of the Romanian Peasant, no. 13/2008


2007 – 2011- Wadsworth International Fellowship of the Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological research, USA
2007- 2008- Departmental Research Bursary Anthropology UCL
Ratiu Foundation Scholarship

Request page update
UCL Anthropology, 14 Taviton Street, London, WC1H 0BW Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 8633